[Answered] Discuss the significance of India’s civil aviation policy.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain significance of India’s civil aviation policy.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

India is the third largest domestic civil aviation market in the world after China and the US. Domestic passengers more than doubled from 60 million in 2014 to 143 million in 2020. There has also been a significant increase in international air passengers — from 23 million to 35 million.

Significance of India’s civil aviation policy:

  • The government issued new MRO Guidelines to encourage MRO organisations and OEMs to set up workshops in India. 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment permitted via automatic route for MRO, and reduction of GST from 18 per cent to 5 per cent with full Input Tax Credit.
  • The need for pilots has also led to an increase in Flight Training organisations (FTOs). Currently, India has 35 approved FTOs with 53 bases and an additional 10 are on the anvil. Similarly, the number of Air Traffic Controllers has increased from a little over 2,000 in 2012 to close to 4,000 in 2022.
  • Last year, the government issued guidelines for Production Linked Incentives (PLI) for drones with an outlay of Rs 120 crore over three years. Further, 72 types of fees have been reduced to four and approximately 90 per cent of airspace has been marked as ‘Green’ under which no permission is required to operate drones.
  • The Krishi Udan Scheme is focused on transporting perishable food products of farmers from the hilly areas, north-eastern states and tribal areas.
  • Instrumental in rescuing Indians and foreign nationals during emergencies. As a part of the Vande Bharat Mission, India operated air bubbles to facilitate the travel of 1.83 crore passengers during the various COVID-19 waves. Further, Operation Ganga rescued 22,500 Indian students from Ukraine at the peak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
  • The Ministry of Tourism also funds more than 50 routes and has approved another 10 routes under the RCS-UDAN Scheme.

India has a huge aviation market with large untapped potential. There is a need for continuous support to the sector from the Government through appropriate policy interventions. This will benefit domestic economy, as well as enhance the global footprint of India’s aviation sector, both in passenger and freight traffic.

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