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Approach :

  1. Intro – overview of UDAN scheme.
  2. Mention its main objectives & features.
  3. Keeping with its objectives, mention its achievements in the last 5 years.
  4. Conclusion.

UDAN Scheme is basically a regional airport development program. It is basically a part of a regional connectivity scheme for upgrading the under-serviced air routes. The first flight under the scheme took off in 2017. Around 60 lakh people travelled by air for Rs 2500. RCS-UDAN was formulated based on a review of The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP)-2016 and it is planned to remain in force for a period of 10 years.

Main objectives : It was initiated with the objective to fulfil 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. With the implementation of the scheme 1 crore persons will fly every year. 220 destinations under UDAN are targeted to be completed by 2026 with 1000 routes to provide air connectivity to unconnected destinations in the country. Through this scheme, air travel will be made affordable and widespread.

Features : It has a self-financing mechanism with the development of Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF). RCF funds the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) requirements of the scheme through a levy on certain domestic flights. Under this scheme the fare for each flight, the airline has to book half or a minimum of 9 or a maximum of 40 seats.

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

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

The expenditure incurred up to June 30, 2022 under this scheme was Rs 2,610 crore.

Success of the scheme :

  • 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. It aims to build 100 Airports by 2026.
  • With 425 new routes initiated, UDAN has provided air connectivity to more than 29 States/ UTs.
  • More than one crore passengers have availed the benefits of this scheme as on 4th August 2022. In the next 4 years, the Ministry of Civil Aviation is expecting 40 crore travellers.
  • Of the 1000 routes, 954 routes have already been awarded to connect 156 airports.
  • It has played a great role in the transformation of Indian aviation industry. It has provided a much-needed platform to the regional carriers to scale up their operations.
  • 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 & indirect benefits of air connectivity for their economic development.
  • With the implementation of this scheme, employment is created in sectors like airport operation, aircraft maintenance, Air traffic control and technical staffs.
  • Tourism will also be promoted through this scheme – 46 important tourist spots have been selected under the scheme.

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

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