January 4, 2008
Train Fare Concessions for HIV Patients in India
Indian Railways, the department of the Government of India that operates the country’s rail network, is considering a proposal that will offer fare reductions of up to 75 percent for people living with HIV/AIDS who travel by train, reports The Indian Express (theindianexpress.com, 1/1).
The newspaper reports that the proposal is being considered in advance of the next rail budget release in February.
Currently, Indian Railways offers fare concessions that range from 50 to 75 percent for people with a variety of medical conditions, including people who are blind, paraplegic or suffering from hearing or speech disorders, and patients with cancer, tuberculosis and heart and kidney disorders. For many conditions, the fare concessions are also available for one escort per patient.
“The demand to offer concessions in fare to HIV and AIDS patients has been there for the past couple of years,” said a senior railway official. “However, it is for the first time that the Ministry has taken up the proposal and started working out the modalities.”
The original proposals were for fare concessions for HIV/AIDS patients who were traveling to one of the National AIDS Control Organization’s (NACO) 127 antiretroviral treatment centers across the country. However, The Indian Express reports that Indian Railways is now considering granting a blanket concession that will allow HIV-positive people to receive the fare reduction regardless of their travel purposes.
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