Why in news?

  • ‘Lifeline Udan’ flights are being operated by MoCA to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country to support India’s war against COVID-19.
  • Air India operated two flights between Mumbai- Frankfurt and Mumbai- London last week under the Krishi Udan program, carrying seasonal fruits and vegetables from Mumbai and returning with general cargo.

Lifeline Udan Scheme

  • ‘Lifeline Udan’ is a Scheme that is run by Ministry of Civil Aviation to help transport essential goods with the help of aircrafts of the Indian Air Force and Air India amongst others.
  • The carriers involved in Lifeline Udan operations include Air India, Alliance Air, Indian Air Force (IAF) and Pawan Hans.
  • Support is being provided by the Airports Authority of India (AAI), AAICLAS (cargo and logistics subsidiary of AAI), AI Airports Services (AIASL), PPP airports and private ground handling entities.
  • Private airline and logistics players are also providing their services for medical cargo.
  • The flights are being coordinated by a control room set up at the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) under the direct supervision of the MoCA leadership.
  • The Lifeline Udan cargo includes COVID-19 related reagents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing kits, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), masks, gloves and other accessories required by personnel engaged in fighting the virus across the country.

What is UDAN scheme?

  • UDAN is a regional connectivity scheme spearheaded by the Government of India (GoI). The full form of UDAN is ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik’ and aims to develop smaller regional airports to allow common citizens easier access to aviation services.
  • This scheme is a part of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) and is funded jointly by the GoI and the state governments. The following are its salient features:
  • The scheme duration is for 10 years
  • Airlines participating in UDAN are selected through a competitive bidding process
  • The Central government will provide the following:
    • Subsidy to cover Value Gap funding (VGF) for participating airlines
    • Concessional GST on tickets booked using the scheme
    • Codesharing for flights under the policy
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