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Repatriation and International Travel of over 20 Lakh People Facilitated since 6th May 2020: Hardeep Singh Puri

New Delhi:8/10/20: The government of India has facilitated the repatriation and international travel of over 20 lakh people through different means since 6th May 2020, said Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, MoS, I/C, Civil Aviation. Interacting with media persons in New Delhi today, Shri Puri said that under Vande Bharat Mission, 17,11,128 people have travelled back to India and 2,97,536 people have travelled out of India.

Speaking aboutinternational travel, Shri Puri informed that Government of India has formalized air bubble arrangements with 16 countries like USA,Canada, France, Germany, UK,Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Japan,Nigeria, Kenya,Iraq, Bhutan and Oman. He added that Government is in discussion with Italy, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and others for similar arrangements.

Shri Puri further said that domestic operations were started in calibrated manner with 33% capacity of the approved summer schedule w.e.f. 25th May 2020, enhanced to 45% from 26th June and 60% from 2nd Sep 2020.More than 1.2 crore domestic passengers have flown since 25th May 2020. 1,56,565 passengers travelled on 1525 flights today.

Initiatives of Ministry of Civil Aviation

LIFELINE UDAN

Lifeline Udan was launched to transport experts and equipment to every corner of the country (NER, hilly and island states) during Covid-19 lockdown. Airlines operated 588 flights, flew more than 5 lakh kilometers, and transported about 1000 tons of essential cargo. The airlines delivered testing kits and medical equipmentto remote locations, when movement by all other modes of transport was restricted. Huge support was received from IAF, State Governments and Administrations of Union Territories.  Further, 1928 Tons medical cargo brought by Air India from foreign countries.30 Tons Medical cargo was supplied to friendly foreign countries (Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka)

UDAN – DRIVING THE GROWTH OF REGIONAL AVIATIONSECTOR

UDAN scheme was launched for affordable regional connectivity.766 Routes were awarded after 4 rounds of bidding under UDAN out of which 284+ Routes have been operationalized connecting 105 airports. 50 UDAN Airports (incl. 5 heliports) developed & operationalized in 3 years as against 76 airports before. 4.8 million passengers have already benefitted from the Scheme.~30 States / UTs have signed MoUs as partners in the Scheme and offered concessions and incentives. Following are some of the key features of the scheme:

  1. 70% average load factor on the regional routes
  2. Implemented economizing measures within the Scheme framework to bring down VGF requirements by ~60% on select existing routes during COVID19.
  3. Start-up and scale-up opportunities for small regional and MSME airlines (Trujet, Air Taxi)
  4. 100 additional UDAN airports, 40+ heliports (Gaucher, Tezu) and water-aerodromes (Statue of Unity, Sabarmati River Front) to be connected
  5. Regional to Remote – North East (ACT East with Passighat, Tezpur) and Islands (Port Blair, Agatti)

MEASURES FOR AVIATION SECTOR

  • In January, 2020 Fuel Throughput charge was rationalised.
  • Central Excise Duty on Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) was reduced to 11% in October 2018.
  • GST on MRO reduced from 18% to 5% with full input tax credit from 1 April 2020. This will attract MRO business to India leading to a lot of savings for airlines in maintenance and also creation of jobs.
  • Till now, only 60% of the Airspace was available for civilian Aircraft movement. Now, restrictions are being eased out. Air space rationalization will save about Rs.1000 crore per annum for airlines
  • The proposal to bring ATF under the ambit of GST is before the GST Council which has representation from the States as well.

About Editor in chief

Ashok Palit has completed his graduation from Upendranath College Soro, Balasore and post graduation from Utkal University in Odia Language and literture.. He has also carved out a niche for himself as a scribe of eminence after joining the profession in 1988. He is also an independent media production professional. He brings loads of experience to Advanced Media, Ashok Palit as a cineaste has been active in film criticism for over three decades. As a film society activist, he soared to eminence for his profound commitment to the art film appreciation and aesthetics of cinema. His mode of discourse is often erudite but always lucid and comprehensible marked by a perfect acumen so rare in the field. A film aesthete with an immense fond of critical sensibilities, he wrote about growth and development of odia cinema in New Indian Express, The Times of India, The Hindustan Times, The Asian Age and Screen. He has been working as an Editor for Cine Samaya from 2002-2004.. He had made solid contribution on cinema in many odia Dailies and weekly such as Samaj, Prajatantra, Dharatri, Samaya, Satabadi, and weekly Samaya.

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