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. The following are the stated objectives of the regional connectivity scheme:

  • Operalisation and development of 425 underserved or unserved airports in the country
  • Boost inclusive economic development by providing faster connectivity
  • Development of air transport infrastructure in remote areas aiding job growth

The scheme is an important government scheme from the UPSC point of view. It is one of the new policies implemented since 16 June 2016. The scheme is covered in the Geography syllabus as well as Economy under infrastructure and economic geography.

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UDAN Scheme

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.
    • Code sharing fo flights under the policy
  • State Governments will extend the following measures:
    • GST reduction to 1% for 10 years
    • Coordination with oil companies to facilitate refuelling facilities
    • Provide land for airport and ancillary development
    • Trained security personnel
    • Utilities at subsidised rates
    • 20% of VGF
  • Airport operators such as AAI will provide the following concessions:
    • No parking, landing and storage charges at participating airports
    • Nil TNLC (Terminal Navigation Landing Charges)
    • Allow ground handling by the airline selected through the bidding process
    • RNCF (Route Navigation and Facilitation Charges) will be discounted to 42.4% of normal rates by the Airports Authority of India.

Value Gap Funding is not provided to cargo airlines. All other terms and conditions remain the same as passenger airlines. The fares are graded based on distance and flight hours for both fixed wing and rotary wing services. The RCS subsidy is funded by a levy of Rs 5000 per flight on major routes. Flights regulated under this policy framework can be booked from the UDAN website and major travel portals by passengers.

UPSC aspirants should approach this topic for Geography and Economy from the following perspectives:

  • The need for regional connectivity schemes
  • The regulatory changes that might be required for implementation
  • Job generation through increased connectivity both in the infrastructure sector as well as ancillary services
  • Focus on location, traffic, load and financial factors

Some questions which may appear in the Mains exam could be:

Q1. Discuss the significance of UDAN scheme and its main features.

Q2. Comment on the challenges faced in the implementation of the UDAN scheme.

Questions regarding infrastructure are a constant presence in both Prelims and Mains. Hence IAS aspirants should pay close attention to current affairs related to this topic.

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