20 Nov 2018

Regional Connectivity Scheme (UDAN)5 min read

Manifest Pedagogy

Geography has been one section which has seen highly dynamic questions in recent times. Even Geography optional has seen path breaking questions. In general studies topics like Indus Water Treaty (IR), IRNSS (S&T) have been asked in Geography which could never be visualized in Geography earlier. Keeping pace with this changing pattern Manifest 11 has picked regional Connectivity scheme, traditionally a topic of Economy, as part of Geography.

Even though the features of the topic remain the same, the answer should be written from regional dimension. Geography is centered on the study of a region, hence impact of a scheme on different parts of country should be stressed upon. Other infrastructural initiatives such as Sagarmala, Bharatmala, Railway Freight Corridors etc. are also important in this regard.

In News

UDAN phase 3

Placing it in Syllabus

Paper 2: Economic Geography (Not mentioned exclusively in syllabus)

Paper 3: Infrastructure – Airports

Static Dimensions

  1. Role of transport
  2. Role of airways
  3. Regional Development

Current Dimensions

  1. UDAN scheme as an enabler of regional development
  2. Tourism and trade
  3. Urbanization and industrialization


Role of Transport

Transportation is a non-separable part of any society. It exhibits a very close relation to the style of life, the range and location of activities and the goods and services which will be available for consumption. Advances in transportation has made possible changes in the way of living and the way in which societies are organized and therefore have a great influence in the development of civilizations.

Transport plays an important role in the development of industry and agriculture. The aim of all economic activities involving movement of goods and men is to transform things in their present forms/ places and time to more highly desired forms, places and time preferences.

It is the function of transport to bridge the gap between producers and consumers so that goods and services may be exchanged in time for their mutual benefit. A developed transport system helps large-scale production and mass distribution with accompanying regional specialization and division of labor. The economic utilization of different types of resource would completely be impossible to carry of one place to another place without transport system.  Exchanges of goods that which we call trade, is totally dependent on the availability of transport networks.

Role of airways in India

In big country as India where major industrial and commercial centers are scattered and far apart and where transport services must contend with a variety of terrain and climatic conditions, air transport has a big role to play. It offers savings in time that cannot be matched by any other mode of transport over long distances. The role played by the air-transport in the development of international trade and tourism is becoming increasingly important. Besides this contribution, aviation is a must for a country’s national defence and political security. It is in the interest of a nation to possess excellent civil fleets which can serve their commerce and industry during peace time and at the same time remain available for immediate conversion to defence purposes during the time of national emergency.

Regional Connectivity Scheme

As the Indian economy grows, consumption-led growth in populated metros is expected to spill over to hinterland areas. This is also expected to be on account of factors of production (land, labor, etc.) becoming costlier in the densely populated metro cities. In this scenario, air connectivity can provide required impetus to the economic growth of regional centers (towns / cities).

The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), Government of India released the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 (NCAP 2016).

One of the key objectives of NCAP 2016 is to “establish an integrated eco-system which will lead to significant growth of civil aviation sector, which in turn would promote tourism, increase employment and lead to a balanced regional growth”.

The scheme provides a unique opportunity to take flying to the masses by way of fiscal incentives, infrastructure support, procedural simplifications and monetary subsidies.

The scheme has been launched to provide connectivity to un-served and underserved airports of the country through revival of existing air-strips and airports. This is the first of its kind scheme and will be implemented for a period of 10 years.

UDAN (“Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik”) scheme will make flying easier and affordable for the common man. It aims to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism. UDAN network will cover the whole country. Accordingly, 24 airports in the western region, 17 airports in the northern region, 11 in the southern region, 12 in east and 6 in north-eastern parts of the country are proposed to be connected under UDAN.

The scheme is expected to have positive effects on the economy in terms of employment and investment. The scheme will also promote tourism and balanced regional growth.

The Regional Air Connectivity Scheme, or UDAN (“Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik”) attempts to reduce the financial burden on operators by:

  1. Having central or state bodies grant concessions in taxes and tariffs
  2. Introducing a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) corpus to bridge the gap between expenditure and revenue
  3. Revival of un-served or under-served airports/ routes, including routes connecting Agatti and Leh
  4. Cost-effective security solutions by Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) and State Governments

The potential RCS airports have been identified on the basis of the following parameters:

  1. At least 150 km distance from the nearest operational airport (with a few exceptions)
  2. Demographic profile, industrial profile, likely passenger demand and market potential
  3. Tourism potential of the airport and its hinterland
  4. Quality of existing runway and terminal
  5. Need for additional land acquisition and capital investments
  6. Connectivity with and competition from other modes of transport like highways and railways

UDAN scheme will help in better regional development by integrating and connecting the hilly and mountainous regions of North-east and Western Himalayan states. Airways are preferred mode for connecting areas of difficult terrain. Promotion of tourism in these states will help in generating employment opportunities and economic development. UDAN will help in growth of tier 2 and tier 3 cities by saving the issues of congestion of class 1 cities. Tier 2 cities will emerge as attractive destinations for investment. Integrated mode of transportation where each mode is complementary to each other will help in better regional development.

UDAN scheme has been divided into:

Phase 1 of the scheme was launched in 2017. Six airports of North-east will be opened under UDAN the airports of North-east include- Shillong, Dimarpur, Imphal, Silchar, Aizawl and Agartala were connected. 128 new regional fixed-wing routes from 70 airports, including 27 currently well served metro airports and 43 regional were awarded to 5 fixed-wing airlines on 27 April 2017. Five airlines are Air Odisha, Air Deccan, Turbo Megha Airways, Alliance Air and SpiceJet.

UDAN 2 (Phase 2) will connect 43 airports and helipads with priority to the North-East and the hill states. States with maximum number of airports and helipads which will see activation under UDAN 2 scheme. These states are Uttarakhand (15 airports), Uttar Pradesh (9 airports), Arunachal Pradesh (8 airports), Himachal Pradesh (6 airports), Assam (5 airports) and Manipur (5 airports).Some of the cities that would now be connected include Kargil, Darbhanga, Kasauli, Bokaro, Dumka, Hubli, Kannur and Pakyong, among others.

Udan 3 – The bidding process for phase 3 is underway. The priority in this phase is connecting tourist destinations. Routes for auction in this phase will include popular tourist destinations such as Mahabodhi temple in Bihar, Ajanta and Ellora in Aurangabad and Hampi in Karnataka and others. The Ministry of Tourism has identified 12 tourist hotspots to connect under the scheme. The centre also intends to operate seaplanes in the phase. The government porposes to connect recently unveiled Statue Of Unity at Sardar Sarovar Dam, Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad, Tehri Dam in Uttarakhand and  Nagarjuna sagar In Telangana through seaplanes.

Test Yourself: Mould your thoughts

Transport infrastructure and its impact on regional development is paramount. In light of this statement examine the impact of UDAN scheme?

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