The Railway Board has standardised the documents its employees need to avail privileged passes or privileged ticket orders (PTO) for their family members or dependents.
In a letter, circulated to all the zones on November 2, the board said, "Pass Issuing Authorities (PIA) are advised to demand only the documents as stipulated in Annexure and not insist on production of other document(s) which might have been in use in the past."
It has also clarified that the existing cases where the eligibility of beneficiaries already stand settled need not be reviewed by calling for documents stipulated now.
Besides the standardisation of documents, the board's letter has also clarified as to who all can avail the benefits of free passes as the relative or dependent of a railway employee.
According to the letter, besides close family members, a railway employee can include his or her dependents such as an adult son, widowed or legally divorced daughter, adopted child, widowed or divorced mother among others in the list of beneficiaries.
"A railway employee gets free travel passes for his/her entire family which include his wife and children, irrespective of the number of children. However, when he or she wants to include a dependent in the list of beneficiaries, the Railway restricts the benefits to only five individuals from the family," an railway official said.
He added, "There was a lot of ambiguity for the production of documents and the concerned officers in the various railway divisions used to demand documents on their whims and fancies. It caused inconvenience to employees and many of them were denied these benefits."
The Railway Board digitised the process of issuance of privileged passes, however, there was no clear instruction regarding the production of documents to avail the benefits. Several employees wrote to the board and demanded clarity on this.
Even the employees' union and its federations drew the board's attention towards the issue, after which, it asked all the stakeholders to share their suggestions.
The board's annexure has 28 columns and three rows mentioning relatives who can be declared the dependents of a railway employee for the purpose of travel and the types of documents he or she needs to upload in each case.
For instance, if an employee wants to include his or her unmarried sister in the list of beneficiaries for privileged pass, the document required would be her birth or school certificate. Similar documents are needed to include a son below the age of 21 and wholly dependent.
However, if the son is a student and 21 years old or above, his Bonafide Student Certificate (BSC) and Dependency Declaration are required to avail the benefits of privileged passes.
The board has also cautioned that incorrect declaration/suppression of information, if detected, will result in "deterrent punishment" to railway employees and forfeiture of pass facility in other cases.