REGIONAL CONNECTIVITY SCHEME-UDAN
Context: Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) recently operationalized the first ever helicopter services from Dehradun’s Sahastradhara helipad to Gauchar, and Chinyalisaur under the Regional Connectivity Scheme – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (RCS-UDAN) of Government of India.
This is Uttarakhand’s First Heli Service under the UDAN Scheme. BACKGROUND MoCA awarded the Sahastradhara-Gauchar-Chinyalisaur route to Heritage Aviation under the UDAN 2 bidding process. For the Heli services, Viability Gap Funding (VGF) is provided under UDAN to keep the fares affordable for the common people. The helicopter services from the Sahastradhara helipad to Gauchar and Chinyalisaur had been the long pending demand of the people residing in the hilly areas. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS ASSOCIATED? The services on this route will boost the tourism sector in the Uttrakhand region and will also assist the Chaar Dhaam Yatra pilgrims as Gauchar is en route to Badrinath and Chinyalisaur is en route to Gangotri in the Uttarkashi district. Heli services under UDAN are currently being operationalised between Chandigarh to Shimla, Shimla to Dharamshala & Shimla to Kullu. ABOUT RCS-UDAN UDAN-RCS, UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik) is a regional airport development and “Regional Connectivity Scheme” (RCS) of Government of India. OBJECTIVE: “Letting the common citizen of the country fly” and making air travel affordable and widespread, to boost inclusive national economic development, job growth and air transport infrastructure development of all regions and states of India. The scheme has two major components:
- The first component is to develop new airports and enhance the existing regional airports to increase the number of operational airports for scheduled civilian flights from 70 (in May 2016, total 98 operational including army airports) to at least 150 airports (by December 2018) with regular scheduled flights.
- The second component is to add several hundred financially-viable, capped-airfare, new regional flight routes to connect more than 100 underserved and unserved airports in smaller towns with each other as well as with well served airports in bigger cities by using “Viability Gap Funding” (VGF) where needed.
- Union government share of “Viability Gap Funding” is from the cess applied to flights to popular routes to main cities and respective state governments have also offered additional benefits to the flight operators to make UDAN-RCS viable.
UDAN-RCS Round-I concluded in April 2017. UDAN-RCS is both enabler and beneficiary of other key Government of India schemes, such as Bharatmala, Sagarmala, Dedicated Freight Corridors, Industrial corridor, BharatNet, Digital India and Make in India, National e-Governance Plan, Startup India and Standup India.
Recently, 4th round of UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) was launched to enhance the connectivity to regional areas of the country. This phase is to focus on Hilly states, North East Region, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir and Islands. In phase 1, around 43 airports were constructed under the scheme. It includes water aerodromes and heliports as well. In phase 2, around 30 airports were constructed and in phase 3, 33 airports were constructed.
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