The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) now has the flexibility to customise the food menu by including regional cuisines and seasonal food as well as serve food suitable for diabetics, babies and health conscious passengers, the Ministry of Railways said on Tuesday.
“To improve catering services on trains, the Ministry of Railways has decided to give IRCTC flexibility to customise the menu so as to include the items of regional cuisines/preferences, seasonal delicacies, requirement during festivals, food items as per the preferences of different group of passengers such as diabetic food, baby food, health food options including millet based local products, etc.,” an official statement said.
Currently, IRCTC has to get the menus, comprising mostly of standardised food items and beverages, approved by the Railway Board before it can introduce them in trains.
For prepaid trains, in which catering charges are included in the passenger fare, the menu will be decided by IRCTC within the tariff already notified. In addition, sale of a-la-carte meals and branded food items on MRP will also be permitted in these prepaid trains. “Menu and tariff of such a-la-carte meals will be decided by IRCTC,” it said.
For other Mail/Express trains, menu of budget segment items like standard meals shall be decided by IRCTC within the fixed tariff already notified. However, menu and tariff of Janta Meals will remain unchanged.
IRCTC needs to ensure that quality and standards of food and service is maintained and safeguards are built in to avoid frequent and undue changes such as curtailment in quantity and quality, use of inferior brands.