The experience of eating while travelling on Indian trains is set to become bigger and better. The Ministry of Railways has granted the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) flexibility to customise the food menu for the passengers. For a long time, there had been fixed and finite food offerings for on-train meals. Now, IRCTC, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Indian Railways, is planning to introduce an all-inclusive menu that allows passengers to customise their meals according to their preferences.
Now, one can avail diabetes-friendly meals, baby-specific foods, and healthy options, including millet-based local products, items of regional cuisines, and seasonal foods. Passengers are also free to request special meals during festivals.
IRCTC will also be permitted to offer a-la-carte meals and branded food items on MRP in prepaid trains. The menu and tariff of the a-la-carte meals, charges of which are included in the passenger fare, shall be decided by the IRCTC.
The sale of a-la-carte meals and branded food items on MRP will also be permitted on Mail/Express trains. The menu and tariff of a-la-carte meals and also of budget segment items like standard meals will again be decided by IRCTC within the fixed tariff already notified. The menu and tariff of Janta Meals shall remain unchanged.
To address the concerns regarding the quality and hygiene of foods served on the trains, The Ministry has asked IRCTC to ensure upgradation in quality and standards of food and service. The company is also required to build safeguards to avoid frequent and undue changes such as curtailment in quantity and quality, use of inferior brands, and more to avoid passenger grievances.
The food delivery service on trains has been going through a gradual transformation, much to the delight of travellers all across the country. IRCTC offered fast-friendly foods during the festival of Navratri this year. The option to order food through WhatsApp was also introduced recently. Read more about it here.