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.
- 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 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. Under UDAN 4, the operation of helicopters and seaplanes have also been incorporated.
Why in News?
- Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia recently said that about 50 new routes under the UDAN scheme will be operational by November-end.
- The number of new RCS routes which started operations stood at 102 in the financial year (FY) 2019 and 120 routes in FY2020. These declined to 77 new routes in FY2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.