About the scheme
- In 2017, the Ministry of Civil Aviation launched the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) “UDAN” (Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik) which aims at providing connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country.
- It aims to achieve its objective through revival of existing air-strips and airports to make flying affordable to the common man who wants to travel to and fro the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of the country.
- UDAN has a unique market-based model. Airline routes are allocated to operators selected through a competitive bidding mechanism.
- Under the scheme, nearly half of the seats in UDAN flights are offered at subsidised fares, and the participating carriers are provided a certain amount of viability gap funding (VGF) – an amount shared between the Centre and the concerned states.
- The scheme also offers waiver of certain statutory charges and taxes on jet fuel to companies in order to offer affordable connectivity.
- The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is designated as the Implementing Agency under this Scheme.
- Following four successful rounds of the scheme, the Ministry of Civil Aviation recently launched UDAN 5.1 to further enhance the connectivity to remote areas of the country and achieve last mile connectivity through helicopters. For the first time under RCS-UDAN, this round is designed specifically for helicopter routes.
Why in News?
- Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN has enhanced regional air connectivity by connecting hitherto unserved/underserved airports in remote areas of the country.
- On the basis of five rounds of bidding under UDAN scheme, 517 routes have so far commenced operations connecting 76 airports, including 9 Heliports & 2 Water Aerodrome.
- More than 130 number of city pairs have been created due to commencement of UDAN flights. 2.47 lakh flights have operated under the UDAN scheme so far, carrying more than 130 lakh passengers.