IRCTC Tatkal: The Scheme of Woes and the Corrective Measures

Despite the best efforts of the IRCTC, arguably the largest online commerce portal in the Asia-Pacific, there is no respite from the many problems which the online ticket bookers face. E-ticketing for the railways was a novel way of reducing the long queues of people in front of At first, it was the touts and the agencies which would use up the quota of the IRCTC Tatkal tickets and then sell these at a premium. There have been many measures to regulate the procedures of booking so that the illegal bookings are not allowed in the Tatkal scheme. Some of these measures are: the booking offices and it was also a fast and convenient way of checking the IRCTC ticket availability and of making the reservations. The IRCTC Tatkal scheme, offering the people the chance to make last minute bookings of the trains, has been very helpful to the needy but there have been many issues which persistently keep cropping up.

  1. Passengers can book the Tatkal tickets from 10 AM. Previously, it could be done from 8 AM.
  2. No authorized agents allowed to book tickets from 10 AM to 12 PM. This applies both for the OTC and the online booking.
  3. Some of the zones of railways will have separate counters for booking Tatkal tickets. However, the zones which will not have separate counters will allow only Tatkal ticket booking for the first half hour, from 10 AM to 10:30 AM.
  4. There are plans to install CCTVs in major booking centres in order to identify the touts and to check the flouting of rules.
  5. Booking clerks have been prohibited from carrying their mobiles in the counter.
  6. Raid by the vigilance squads have also been envisioned to check the operation of touts and agents.

The second major problem is that the online booking systems were not having the sufficient capacity to handle a large rush of traffic. The IRCTC website used to receive about 13000 hits per minute in the first few minutes after the online tickets bookings opened and the capacity was of enabling about 1500 transactions per minute. This caused slowdown and showed server errors. Some of the measures which have been incorporated to ensure IRCTC ticket availability without hassles are:

  1. Installation of the high capacity Iridium servers. Also, the number of server are also to be increased from 52 to 70.
  2. Increase in internet bandwidth from 344 to 450mbps.
  3. Implementation of single user registration with one email ID with email verification has been launched.
  4. Web service agents are not allowed to book more than one Tatkal ticket per train per day and that too after 12:00 hours. Individual users can book 2 such tickets between 10:00 AM to 12:00 AM hours.
  5. There has also been an introduction of the IP address check since only 2 tickets can now be booked per IP address between 10-12 AM.
  6. Similarly, in order to prevent one user from opening more than one session for ticket booking, the check has been introduced.
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