IRCTC, the catering and tourism wing of the massive government establishment of Indian Railways, is famed for operating the biggest e-commerce portal of the Asia-Pacific region. However, the IRCTC is now on the verge of breaking the bonding and going all on its own into the business of providing a range of services and products which are expected to further boost its revenues. It was in 2010 that it was stripped of the catering license and the total loss in catering has been Rs 270 crores ever since. This was a welcome wake-up call since the organization was forced to think of the ways and means to generate more revenues. This has resulted in effecting changes at a strategic level and a number of measures have been taken or are planned to put the IRCTC back on revenue generation stream.
Having considerable experience in the catering business on a large scale of feeding millions of railway passengers on daily basis, it plans to utilize the same for the corporate bodies. There is a plan to build about 5 automated kitchens all around the country, notably, Noida, Chennai, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata. Each of these automated kitchens are expected to provide 10,000 to 25000 meals per day. Similarly, the number of Rail Neer plants, the packaged drinking water of railways, will increase from 3 to 9.
Banking upon its brand image and the customer reach, it has also initiated into the Air Ticketing business, providing the online flight booking facility for the domestic destinations on the domestic carriers. The people looking for the cheap air tickets now have one more option to search from and book the flights.
IRCTC is also on the ambitious plan to catch with the latest tourist trends and therefore, it has developed the tourist plans for families, students and corporate. These niche segments are going to be targeted in a big way as it plans to boost its revenues from ticketing and tourism to reach the double mark and reduce dependence on catering.
The management of the facilities is another plan of the IRCTC. Beginning with providing of catering services to the corporate clients, it also plans to venture into the housekeeping, security and horticulture related services and eventually to become a full-fledged facilities management services provider.
Recently, the Railway Ministry refused to grant land to IRCTC for setting up the Budget Hotels close to the railway stations. IRCTC is now planning to enter into joint venture with the state governments for the same. With this move, it will move into another crucial product segment of the travel and tour business, i.e. hotels.