Jaipur: Rajasthan government has signed an MoU with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC), for a scheme that will bear all the expenses of the senior citizens who want to go to the selected pilgrimage sites.

Ten pilgrimage centers have been selected in the first phase of the scheme, namely- Jagannathpuri, Gaya, Rameshwaram, Vaishno Devi, Tirupati, Varanasi, Amritsar, Dwarkapuri, Bihar Sharif and Shirdi.

The first phase of the scheme is open to 25000 applicants, where they are required to fill up the forms that will be available at all the divisional headquarters in the state. The last date of for this is July 1. The duration of the trip is between 5 to 8 days. Selected senior applicants can choose any one centre out of all the pilgrimage centers. Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had made announcement in the budget speech for 2013-14. The purpose of this scheme is to provide comfort and financial relief to the senior citizens and facilitate them to travel these important pilgrimage sites.

A few special features that have been designed under this scheme include the facility of special trains that would be available at each divisional headquarters, to ferry 1,000 people at a time. All the arrangements for meals, accommodation and road travel will be done by the IRCTC. The scheme is applicable only to citizens who are above 65 years of age.