A Case Study on the Working System of PRS & UTS over IR Project Report by M.RANA PRATAP, IRAS FA & CAO/G SOUTHERN RAILWAY The Milestones of PRS Working: Before 1985: Manual System Introduction: When Manual working system was in vogue, PCT reservation tickets were issued through the pigeon holes of the ticket tubes and the details used to be recorded in the KARDEX register which contains the full details of the passenger, train No. date of journey, seat/berth No. etc and this KARDEX register forms base for preparation of the chart. There used to be an allegation against the Railway personnel that berths were allotted as per their will and pleasure. Though there is no fact always in the allegation, it is a fact that manual system was not transparent. To overcome this problem and also as a part of passenger amenity, the huge project of Computerized Passenger Reservation System (PRS) was introduced in 1984-85 1985:Pilot Project online at Delhi 1988:IMPRESS(Integrated Multi-train Passenger REServation System) Phase I implemented 1991:IMPRESS Phase II implemented 1994:CONCERT(Country wide Network of Computerized Enhanced Reservations and Ticketing) phase I implemented 1997:CONCERT phase II implemented 1999:All India Network commissioned 2001: Alpha Migration(Working of single software all over IR) 2002: E-Reservation on Internet (I-ticket) 2003: Booking after charting (VAL- Validated Available Passengers List) 2005: E-ticketing thru Internet cafes/Internet at homes Covering all the zonal railways over IR FIVE Main frame servers were established at NDLS( covering NR,NER,NWR & NCR), HWH( covering NEFR, ER, SER, SECR, ECR & ECoR), CSTM( covering CR,WR WCR), MAS( covering SR & SWR) and SC( covering SCR)To provide reservation from anywhere to anywhere on a single window, it was decided to network all five systems. CRIS(Centre for Railway Information System) was given the task of linking all the five systems under unique software. Thus CONCERT (Country Wide Network Computerised Enhanced Reservation & Ticketing) Software was introduced from Sep’1994. Chennai system was the last one to be networked with other systems w.e.f. 18.04.1999. The software developed by M/s. CMC, tested and certified by the other 4 PRS systems was transported to suit the CYBER 930 computers at all the five servers. The software used at the time of introduction was IMPRESS ( Integrated Multitrain Passenger Reservation System ). CONCERT is developed on open VMS platform in “C” and FORTRAN language using flat file system. To enable smooth networking transactions it is on Client Server Architecture using RTR(Reliable Transaction Router) as the middleware. On- line reservation of passenger traffic on Indian Railways is being carried out through five systems functioning at five different locations with on – line and off – line activities. Nodes defined for each of this system are: Location on-line off-line 1.New Delhi (DLI PRS) Lotus & Orchid Lilac 2.Secunderabad (SC PRS) Mahi & Pavan Neeru 3.Calcutta (CAL PRS) Lion & Tiger Deer 4.Mumbai (BB PRS) Dharma & Arjun Nakul 5.Chennai (MAS PRS) Citius & Fortis Altius CONCERT NETWORK TOPOLOGY 1 64 KBPS Leased Line6 1 2MBPS Leased line CRIS kolkata PRS Delhi PRS 2 MBPS (x2) Leased Line Mumbai PRS 64 KBPS Leased Line 1 64 KBPS Leased Line6 1 2MBPS Leased line 64 KBPS (x2) Leased Line 64 KBPS Leased Line Secunderabad PRS 1 2MBPS Leased line Delhi 64 KBPS (X 2) Leased Line Calcutta Mumbai SecBad Chennai PRS Chennai 5 The main on line functions are – 1. Reservations( Fare computation & ticketing) 2. Cancellations ( Computation of Clerkage/cancellation fees refunds) 3. Modifications ( Postponement/preponement/Modification of journey) 4. Supervisory operations 5. Enquiries 6. Chart preparations 7. Verification of data (regarding ON-LINE refunds &Journalists etc) The main off-line functions are:1. Accounts reports 2. Data base maintenance 3. Statistical reports PNR(Passenger Name Record) consists of ten digits. The first digit is defined for the system while second digit refers to the file number. The rest of eight digits indicate serial number of the respective file. The first character of the PNR enables one to know as to where the data is stored. The following ( first digit) numbers are allotted for each system: Secunderabad (SC PRS) = 1 Chennai (MAS PRS) = 4&5 Bombay (BB) = 8 & 9. Delhi (DLI PRS) = 2 &3 Howrah(CAL PRS) = 6 & 7 Typical Transaction Map of PNR Receive input & validate Request for pnr Generation Generate a New PNR PNR Server Pnr number Calculate Fare Request to calculate fare Fare Server Fare Allocate Seat Request to allocate seats Allocation Server Seat details Request to write pnr details PNR Server Write PNR Status Write recovery journal Recovery Server 3 Typical Transaction Map (Cont’d…) Display status Proceed Accounting server Recovery server Flush Write Accounting journal Write Recovery journal Print Ticket Deallocate Seats Allocation Server Delete PNR Pnr Server Write Recovery journal Recovery server END 4 After introduction of PRS systems all over the country, there is transparency in the working and also customer satisfaction /appreciation was attained to the maximum possible levels. INTERNAL CHECK: During the course of Manual Working, only ABRT(Advance Booked Refunded Tickets)/ROPD(Refunds Of the Previous Day) tickets along with the statements were sent to Traffic Accounts Office for conducting necessary internal check. After the advent of PRS system varieties of cancellation tickets (i.e., normal cancellations, System non-issued tickets, Special Cancelled Tickets and Modification tickets) are sent to Traffic Accounts Office along with the Statements for conducting necessary internal check besides the manual refund returns. Since the volume of transactions have tremendously increased, the work load in Traffic Accounts Office has also increased. Even after two decades of its introduction, internal check mechanisms for PRS are yet to stabilize over IR. Since no procedural Orders were issued by Rly.Board for implementing uniform internal checks individual zonal railways had devoloped checks locally suited to their working systems. For instance: Northern Railway : Cancelled, Non-issued, etc., PNRs data used to be downloaded on floppy and was sent to Traffic Accounts Office and- When ROPD/ABRT data is entered in PC & matching of PNR Nos. was done -debits on missing PNRs used to be huge since wrong feeding of PNR Nos. etc., Southern Railway : Checks are being conducted by AAs at PRS locations itself which had a possibility of manipulation of ROPD /ABRTs by Commercial staff at site. Central, Western, NEF, Eastern & SW Railways : In addition to Traffic Accounts internal check, TIAs go to locations and check periodically. S.C.Railway : 2 TIAs with 4 AAs at PRS/SC, 1 TIA each at BZA & GNT, and 1 SO(A) with 10 AAs at Traffic Accounts Office are conducting internal check on PRS Transactions. Online terminals provided to TIAs and in Traffic Accounts Office to check distance dumps; refunds logic; fare logic, percentage of concessions, etc along with regular internal check. In addition to these checks, it is felt that there are some inadequacies in the working system and these inadequacies are mainly due to: Inefficient System Administration Defective File Design Unrestricted/Unlogged Access Control Inadequate MIS Reports Inefficient System Administration Occasional link failures leading to Suspension of Ticketing Globally/Selectively. Failure of Allocation Logic - Double allotment of berths Suitable Soft ware modification with concurrent link support is only the remedy Defective File Design 1.When boarding station is different from the journey commencingstation, time of boarding station was reckoned for calculation of cancellation charges lead to loss of revenue. 2.Cancellation of prime beneficiary ticket not leading to cancellation of companion ticket in case of ticket for physically handicapped passengers- Logic got rectified. 3.In cases of Coach replacement - disturbance in compact allocation logic was noticed. These problems got rectified on reporting. But CRIS should concurrently monitor to prevent the same Unrestricted/Unlogged Access Control No logging was initially maintained for access/changes in database programming - when a rectification to database was made at the instance of Accounts or audit it could not be proved later as to when rectification was done and by whom. Same is the case with supervisory functions - misuse of extension of waitlists took place, specially during Festivals/Ayyappa seasons. ( Normally in a train profile, after exhausting berths/seats waitlist tickets will be issued. This waitlist will be up to 499 for a train and the maximum permissible waitlist for a train is 999. Issuing tickets from waitlist 500 to 999 had been made as a supervisory function. This facility should be used sparingly by the supervisors which they had not followed during festival and Ayyappa seasons and issue of waitlisted tickets has lead to either in heavy refunds or some times arranging extra coaches by the trains which was not practically feasible every time.) Presently this problem got addressed by CRIS. Proper care should be taken for avoiding recurrence of the same Normally User ID will be given to an operator based on the location where he/she is posted. When these operators got transferred another location his/her User ID is not being changed and they are continuing with the same old User IDs. Hence, User IDs of the operators should get updated from time to time. Inadequate MIS Reports Billing Module ( Facility to generate military bills, etc.) in PRS is available but not being used by all the Rlys – Billing is done manually in Traffic Accounts Office Cashier’s Cash Book is not computerized. If it is computerized manipulations can be avoided. Ticket continuity module generates bulky reports and is not useful - exception reports are required to conduct internal check. GRANT OF ONLINE REFUNDS This is another major change that took place in the computerization scenario. The refunds specially the late refunds used to be processed in CCM’s Office where there is lot of work load in processing the refunds. These refunds were made as online so that the passengers can take late refunds across the counters in PRS centres. Normally ticket checking staff prepare amended charts during the course of their duty on trains which contains the data of all the passengers who had performed their journey. To process Online Refunds, the ticket checking staff are asked to prepare a new report called EDR Exceptional Data Report which contains the details of passengers who have not traveled. The EDR data gets updated at the PRS counters where the Ticket checking staff alight after completing their duty. Once the EDR data is fed in to the PRS system, the passengers can take refunds across the counters ONLINE. In processing the refunds, railway administration is facing some practical problems because • • • • • Late refunds Specific Cancellation Time is not fixed and normally it is done up to 30 days EDRs are not being fully written are not getting properly updated TTEs are not being checked by their Supervisors TAO is kept in dark No Foolproof Checking Mechanism of Online refunds was designed • • Possibility of Misuse/Frauds Uniform Procedure thru JPOO is required REMEDIAL MEASURES: 1. In the Railway Budget 2011, MR had announced that TTEs will be advised to update the EDRs through SMS. This procedure has to be thoroughly checked befor e implementation. 2. EDRs prepared by TTEs should be checked by CTIs 3.Internal checks to be conducted by Traffic Accounts Office and TIAs have to be developed duly consulting all Railways. INTERNET TICKETS This is another major change that took place in the working of PRS. Initially, internet tickets( I-tickets) were permitted to be booked by IRCTC and the ticket gets printed at IRCA building at NDLS and the ticket is sent to the passenger’s address through courier. For this there was restriction that the passenger can not book a ticket within 72 hrs time. Later, as a development to this system, E-ticketing has come into force where a passenger can book his ticket through internet either at an IRCTC authorized internet café or at his home and the ticket can be printed by the passenger himself on a plain paper. The realization of earnings is monitored at NDLS. This provision also gave lot of scope to misuse by the passengers as many cases of misuse of this provision were reported all over IR. Proper instructions were not given to the staff and dropped waitlist passengers of e-tickets were found traveling. No instructions regarding internal check/audit are given on the e-tickets. Internal checks have to be devised on e-tickets by TIAs during their Train Checks. Sine IRCTC is now being severed with some of the functions, IR have to think about issue of e-tickets duly incorporating strict rules to minimize misuse by the users. PRS counters at POST OFFICEs: Post Offices are now being given a PRS counter. These are working as mini PRS centers. A uniform and thorough procedure has to be evolved for sending the PRS vouchers by the Post Offices to Traffic Accounts Office SCENARIO OF U T S While reservations are computerized, simultaneously, unreserved tickets were also computerized. Initially this job was given to private and state govt. public sector organizations like M/s ORG Pvt.Ltd, KELTRON. UPTRON etc., They had developed stand alone machines which were initially called as RTMs ( Rail Ticketing Machines) and were later renamed as SPTMs ( Self Printing Ticketing Machines) Lot of problems and frauds were faced by the administration (which were envisaged under FRAUDS) since these are stand alone systems and the data has to be fed in to each system separately through EPROMs(Erasable PROgrammable Read Only Memory). To over come the problems faced I n the working of SPTMs M/s CMC was asked to develop a better system of ticket issuing machines and thus ARTS (Advanced Railway Ticketing System) was developed by CMC. These were also stand alone machines and further development to this SMARTS (Schalar Modular Advanced Railway Ticketing System) was developed with a LAN atmosphere. Frauds/Problems could not be restricted with these systems as the most famous JALLANDHAR CONTONMENT fraud to the tune of Rs.6.47 Crs took place in these systems ( which was envisaged in Railway Board Vigilance bulletin). To over come the problems of unreserved tickets CRIS had developed UTS (Unreserved Ticketing System) which was introduced as a pilot project at NDLS in 2003. Later on similar lines of PRS UTS was also developed with Zonal networking facility UTS Features • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Unreserved ticketing constitutes major component of the overall ticketing in Indian Railways. It contributes a large amount of earning for Indian Railways. Railways carry 13 million passengers per day, less than a million are reserved passengers Railways are predominantly carriers for unreserved passengers It has 4 Tier Servers-Central/Zonal/Station/Terminal Signature code security at all levels Logoff all security features available Software modification at zonal level Online checks like PRS Better Ticket Stock Management Centralized Database/Report generation Computerised unreserved ticket from a predefined cluster of location to any station over entire IR. Computerised Tickets for MST/QST, platform tickets and Identity cards. Tickets can be issued up to 3 days (a configurable parameter) in advance Across the counter cancellation of tickets issued from anywhere. Provision of fare enquiry and enquiry on UTS number. UTS limitations • • • • • • Separate server-to be linked to PRS for N/W Verification of Ticket details across counter not possible like in SPTMs M&M billing module to be developed No Return Journey Ticket is available Reverse journey ticket is available but cancellation is permitted only at the originating point. Data Preservation 45 days-Later DAT tapes To overcome the limitations in UTS working, 1. The UTS servers also are to be networked akin to PRS. 2. Soft ware modification has to be done to facilitate verification of ticket details across the counters. 3. Soft ware modification should be done to allow cancellation of reverse journey tickets at the ticket issuing point. 4. Facilities for Data preservation at the locations should be made to preserve for at least 6 months 5. M & M billing module should be utilized to minimize the work load at Traffic Accounts. Frauds/Serious Irregularities: PRS: 1.Credit Card fraud - Pilfered C.C was used by culprit to book high value tickets - Later C.C No. and legend “NO REFUNDS BOOKED ON VC/MC” were erased and huge cash refunds were taken in connivance with operator. 2.An Operator books a ticket, notes down the PNR No. and Stock No., cancels the same on another Operator’s Counter without the original ticket and pockets the refund amount - at the Train 2 Passgs. produce valid tickets for the same berth and TTE adjusts the passengers - in some cases cancellations are done without original ticket . This has come to light in the internal check. Staff have been taken up under D&AR 3. An outside passenger had booked a PRS ticket with confirmed status. The same ticket was cancelled after preparation of charts. The details of confirmed berths were incorporated in the blank proforma of an e-ticket and party traveled as an e-ticket passenger. The TTE on train could not detect this bogus passenger since all the details available in the e-ticket are tallying with the original chart. UTS: 1.The ticket stationery was saved by giving command for a platform (low value) ticket and not allowing the ticket to be printed. Later, this saved ticket was issued to a passenger for higher value by entering details of from and to stations, via point, time of issue, type of train, No. of passengers and signature manually. The difference of fare between the higher value and platform ticket was pocketed by the operator. 2.cash misappropriated by Non-Issuing the modified journey ticket. A Journey ticket was issued for 8 Adults which was presented for cancellation. Rs.80/- was retained as clerkage without canceling the ticket and balance refunded to the party. The above ticket was partially cancelled (modified) for 3 Adults Generated fresh journey ticket for 5 Adults. Modified journey ticket generated for 5 Adults In the process the employee deliberately avoided to account Rs.50/- towards clerkage charges. was Non- Issued 3.Key in a low value ticket (platform/nearest station) and not allow the printer to print, thereby save stationery(say ticket No.1). Roll back the saved ticket (ticket No.1) Print high value ticket on the saved ticket causing mismatch and issued to passenger(ticket No1/Ticket No.2) Roll forward manually the ticket accounted for higher value in the system(ticket No.2) This ticket is made non-issued on immediate ticket(ticket No.3) stating the reason as ticket not printed Time to Stabilize Checks Uniform global checks to be evolved - Board can different Railways co-ordinate with Provision PCs in Internal Check sections - PRS data to be downloaded into PCs and checks done without report printing (Laborious & Costly) Need to amend the Code regarding preservation of records preservation of PRS records for 3 years a huge task Preservation in electronic media to be allowed (eg : ROPD tickets to be preserved for 3 years - actually 6 months enough.) Thorough training for TIAs and staff in PRS/UTS electronic checks. working and Distance dumps not uniform on all Railways For eg., SC to RJY - 501 kms.(PRS/SC) RJY to SC - 500 kms (PRS/Kolkatta) REVERSE PAIR MATCHING of distance dumps to be done on all 5 PRS systems to overcome the distances problem Program to be developed on pre-bought transactions - presently no proper checks - misuse takes place. SCRly had forwarded a suggestion to Rly.Bd to incorporate extra information in the reservation form at the time of pre-bought reservations with which a report on such tickets can be generated to facilitate internal check. This suggestion is yet to be accepted by Rly.Bd. In system BPT statement via and enroute points are not available – hence internal check is incomplete – This may lead to leakage of revenue. Provision of online terminals for TIAs/PRS all over Indian Railways as on S.C.Railway and S.Railway may facilitate to intensify the checks and the irregularities can be brought to minimal. A common User ID to all TIAs over IR should be provided so that whenever TIAs go for inspection they can utilize a spare terminal available at the location to complete his internal audit. SUGGESTIONS TO REACH THE GOAL 1.Computerization of Ticket Collector’s Offices at major stations to strengthen check of collected tickets and to arrest frauds and irregularities. 2. Printing of ticket stationery being out sourced. Uniformity and incorporation of security features required. 3. Implement System Stock Management 4. Provide JPOO for PRS 5. Strictly adhere to JPOOs in the day-to-day working 6. Implement PRS/ UTS – Finally Single Window 7. The role of TIAs and TAO have to be redefined with more effective and intelligent checks – After Computerization.