In order to encourage participation in the “Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat” programme, railways will grant 50 per cent concession in basic fares of second or sleeper class to the economically weaker participants.

Youth with earnings or emoluments of not more than Rs 5,000 per month who are participating in the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat can avail 50 per cent concession. But they will have to pay the supplementary charges, reservation charges and other applicable charges among others.

Under this Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme, for which HRD Ministry is the nodal ministry, states and union territories (UTs) have been paired and exchange takes place among them to learn the culture of each other. The paired states and UTs signed MoUs with each other, delineating a set of activities that they would carry out. The pairing of the states and UTs is for a period of one year. New pairing of states and UTs is expected to kick in from 2020.

The concession has been granted as a special case only for normal train services and is not admissible in special trains or coaches, it said. The concessional return journey tickets may also be issued on payment of one single journey fare of second or sleeper class fares to persons travelling more than 300 km to the place of the festival.

“This concession will be provided on production of requisite certificate in the prescribed railway format from the secretary of concerned department of human resource development of various states,” it said.

“The intending participants are required to submit the certificate to the authorised officers of the railway concerned, namely the chief commercial manager, the divisional commercial manager, etc., who will issue them the concession orders on presentation of which the station master will allow the concession to them,” it added.

Certificates will not be issued to those whose travelling expenses are to be borne by the central or state government, a local or statutory body, a corporation, a government undertaking or a university.