UDAN Scheme

Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik Scheme

Why in News: UDAN Scheme of Ministry of Civil Aviation completes 5 years of success. 

More than one crore passengers have flown since the inception of the scheme. 425 New routes started under the scheme. 58 airports, 8 heliports and 2 water aerodromes have been connected. 1000 Routes and 220 airports are planned to be facilitated under the scheme by 2026

Ministry: Ministry of Civil Aviation’s flagship program Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN (UdeDeshkaAamNagrik) has completed 5 years of success since the launch of its first flight by the Prime Minister on 27th April 2017. 

Origin: The scheme was initiated on 21st October 2016 with the objective to fulfill the aspirations of the common citizen by following the vision of ‘UdeDeshkaAamNagrik’, with an enhanced aviation infrastructure and air connectivity in tier II and tier III cities.

In the last five years, UDAN has significantly increased the regional air-connectivity in the country. There were 74 operational airports in 2014. Because of the UDAN scheme this number has increased to 141 by now.

68 underserved/unserved destinations which include 58 Airports, 8 Heliports & 2 Water Aerodromes have been connected under UDAN scheme. With 425 new routes initiated under the scheme, UDAN has provided air connectivity to more than 29 States/ UTs across the length and breadth of the country. More than one crore passengers have availed the benefits of this scheme as on 4th August 2022. The scheme has also provided a much-needed platform to the regional carriers to scale up their operations.

220 destinations (airports/heliports/water aerodromes) under UDAN are targeted to be completed by 2026 with 1000 routes to provide air connectivity to unconnected destinations in the country. Under UDAN, 954 routes have already been awarded to connect 156 airports.

On the occasion, Minister of Civil Aviation Shri Jyotiraditya M. Scindia said,“The Success of RCS UDAN is a demonstration of the government’s commitment to the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’. 

It has played a great role in the transformation of the Indian aviation industry. So far under this scheme, we have 425 routes aiming to go up to 1000 routes, 68 new airports aiming to touch 100 airports. In the next 4 years we are expecting 40 crore travelers through Civil Aviation in India. 

That day is not far when along with rail transport and road transport Civil Aviation will become the bulwark of the transportation in India.”

RCS-UDAN was formulated based on the review of The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP)-2016 and it was planned to remain in force for a period of 10 years. It has a self-financing mechanism with the development of Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF). Under this Scheme, RCF was created, which funds the VGF requirements of the scheme through a levy on certain domestic flights. This way, funds generated from the sector themselves stimulate the growth and development of the sector.

The UDAN Scheme has benefitted a diverse set of stakeholders. Passengers have got the benefits of air connectivity, airlines have received concessions for operating regional routes, unserved regions have received the direct and indirect benefits of air connectivity for their economic development.

UDAN created a framework based on the need and led to the formulation of:

  • Lifeline UDAN (for transportation of medical cargo during pandemic).
  • Krishi UDAN (value realization of agriculture products especially in Northeastern Region {NER} and tribal districts).
  • International UDAN routes for NER to explore International Connectivity from / to Guwahati and Imphal.

Lifeline UDAN – Lifeline UDAN initiative commenced in March 2020 during COVID-19 period and it helped to operate 588 flights transporting almost 1000 Tones of voluminous cargo and essential medical services to various parts of the country.

RCS-UDAN was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration under Innovation Category for the year 2020.  

Republic Day Tableau for 26th January 2022 on UDAN was adjudged as the Best Tableau by the Ministry of Defense.

Phases Under the Scheme:

UDAN 1.0 and 2.0: During RCS-UDAN version 1.0 & 2.0, 66 airports were identified and 31 heliports (28 unserved heliports and 3 unserved airports).

UDAN 3.0: During UDAN version 3.0, to increase the tourism potential at the coastal areas, Tourism routes in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism and Seaplanes for connecting Water Aerodromes were included.

UDAN 4.0: The focus of UDAN 4.0 is on priority areas like the NorthEast Region, Hilly States, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Islands.

Salient Features of UDAN Scheme

  • The plan calls for the revival of existing airstrips and airports to provide connectivity to the country’s underserved and unserved airports. The scheme is in place for a ten-year period.
  • Airports that have fewer than one flight per day are considered underserved, while airports that have no operations are considered unserved.
  • Selected airlines are given financial incentives from the central government, state governments, and airport operators.
  • These incentives are given to encourage operations from unserved and under-served airports while keeping airfares low.
  • Airlines are awarded routes through a bidding process and must offer airfares of 2,500 per hour of flight.
  • A minimum of 50% of an aircraft’s total seats must be available at a lower cost.
  • The government provides a three-year subsidy to airlines in order to enable them to offer low-cost flights.
  • In the first three years, the government had set aside $4,500 crore for the revival of 50 airports.
  • A competitive bidding process is used to select the participating airlines.
  • The maximum fare for the fixed-wing aircraft is Rs. 2500 per hour, which covers 50% of the seating capacity for unserved and under-developed regional airports.
  • The remaining 50% of seating capacity is charged at market rate.
  • The scheme was decided to be updated quarterly in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.
  • The cargo flights will be provided with the same services as this scheme, but the VGP service will not be available.

plutus ias current affairs eng med 18th August 2022