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
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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
•
•
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•
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•
•
•
•
•
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•
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
•
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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.
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Project Work - M.R.PRATAP - C-TARA