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 through revival of existing air-strips and airports to make flying affordable to the common man who want 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.
- The scheme offers viability gap funding to companies in addition to waiver of certain statutory charges and taxes on jet fuel in order to offer affordable connectivity.
- Airlines have to set aside 50% of the total aircraft capacity for cheaper fares to be offered at the rate of Rs 2,500 per hour of flight, in return for which airlines are given a subsidy by the Centre and the State government concerned.
- The airport that will be renovated under this scheme will be chosen after referring to the respective State government. Together with the State government the Central government will revive the dysfunctional and unserved airports of the country.
- The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is designated as the Implementing Agency under this Scheme.
- The scheme is now in its fourth phase with focus on bringing connectivity to priority areas like North East India, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, hilly states in other parts of the country, and islands.
Why in News?
- Recently, the Civil Aviation Minister flagged off the first helicopter service in Uttarakhand under the UDAN-RCS scheme.
- A total of 274 UDAN routes have been operationalized so far connecting 45 airports and 3 heliports since the launch of the first UDAN flight in 2017.