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5 Years of UDAN

  Aug 30, 2022

5 Years of UDAN

Q. Why is this in News?

A Recently UDAN (UdeDeshkaAamNagrik), a Regional Connectivity Scheme of the Ministry of Civil Aviation has completed 5 years of success since the launch of its first flight by the Prime Minister on 27th April 2017.

Q. What do we need to know about the UDAN Scheme?


  • About:
    • Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) was launched as a Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) under the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2016.
    • It was formulated based on the review of The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP)-2016 and it was planned to remain in force for a period of 10 years.
      • Under this Scheme, Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) was created, which funds the Viability Gap Funding (VGF) requirements of the scheme through a levy on certain domestic flights.
        • VGF means a grant one-time or deferred, provided to support infrastructure projects that are economically justified but fall short of financial viability.
  • Objectives:
    • To develop the regional aviation market.
    • To provide affordable, economically viable and profitable air travel on regional routes to the common man even in small towns.
  • Features:
    • The scheme envisages providing connectivity to unserved and underserved airports of the country through the revival of existing air-strips and airports.
      • Under-served airports are those which do not have more than one flight a day, while unserved airports are those where there are no operations.
    • Financial incentives from the Centre, state governments and airport operators are extended to selected airlines to encourage operations from unserved and under-served airports, and keep airfares affordable.
  • Achievements So Far:
    • There were 74 operational airports in 2014 which has increased to 141 by now.
    • 68 underserved/unserved destinations which include 58 Airports, 8 Heliports & 2 Water Aerodromes have been connected under UDAN scheme.
    • With 425 new routes initiated, UDAN has provided air connectivity to more than 29 States/ UTs across the country.
    • More than one crore passengers have availed the benefits of this scheme as on 4th August 2022.
  • Targets:
    • 220 destinations (airports/heliports/water aerodromes) under UDAN are targeted to be completed by 2026 with 1000 routes to provide air connectivity to unconnected destinations in the country.
      • Under UDAN, 954 routes have already been awarded to connect 156 airports.
  • Awards & Recognition:
    • RCS-UDAN was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration under Innovation Category for the year 2020.
    • Republic Day Tableau for 26th January 2022 on UDAN was adjudged as the Best Tableau by the Ministry of Defence.

Q. How has the UDAN Scheme’s Performance been?


  • UDAN 1.0
    • Under this phase, 5 airlines companies were awarded 128 flight routes to 70 airports (including 36 newly made operational airports).
  • UDAN 2.0
    • In 2018, the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced 73 underserved and unserved airports.
    • For the first time, helipads were also connected under phase 2 of the UDAN scheme.
  • UDAN 3.0
    • Inclusion of Tourism Routes under UDAN 3 in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism.
    • Inclusion of Seaplanes for connecting Water Aerodromes.
    • Bringing in a number of routes in the North-East Region under the ambit of UDAN.
  • UDAN 4.0
    • In 2020, 78 new routes were approved under the 4th round of RCS-UDAN to further enhance the connectivity to remote & regional areas of the country.
    • Kavaratti, Agatti, and Minicoy islands of Lakshadweep will be connected by the new routes of UDAN 4.0.
  • UDAN 4.1
    • The UDAN 4.1 focuses on connecting smaller airports, along with special helicopter and seaplane routes.
    • Some new routes have been proposed under the Sagarmala Seaplane Services.
      • Sagarmala Seaplane Services is an ambitious project under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways with potential airline operators.
  • UDAN 5.0
    • In 2021, the Ministry of Civil Aviation flagged off 6 routes, expanding the aerial connectivity of North-East India, under the UDAN Scheme.
  • Lifeline UDAN:
    • It was launched for transportation of medical cargo during pandemic.
    • It commenced in March 2020 during COVID-19 period and it helped to operate 588 flights transporting almost 1000 Tonnes of voluminous cargo and essential medical services to various parts of the country.
  • Krishi UDAN:
    • It was launched for value realization of agriculture products especially in Northeastern Region (NER) and tribal districts
  • International UDAN:
    • Under International UDAN, the plan is to connect India’s smaller cities directly to some key foreign destinations in the neighbourhood.

Q. What is the Way Forward?


  • Airlines have leveraged the scheme strategically towards gaining additional slots at congested tier-1 airports, monopoly status on routes and lower operational costs.
    • Thus, stakeholders should work towards making the UDAN scheme sustainable on its own and improve its efficiency.
  • Airlines should undertake marketing initiatives so that more and more people can take advantage of the UDAN scheme.
  • More infrastructure is required for the successful implementation of the scheme across the country.