RCS – UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik)

RCS – UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik)

This article covers “Daily Current Affairs” and the topic details “RCS – UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik)”. This topic has relevance in the “Economy” section of the UPSC CSE exam.


For Prelims:
What is RCS – UDAN?

For Mains:
GS3:  Economy
Infrastructure: Airports


Why in the news?

The Government of India’s Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), has achieved a significant milestone in the country’s aviation sector by celebrating six successful years in 2023.


RCS – UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik)

  • The Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) was introduced as a pivotal element of India’s National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) in 2016 by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA).
  • Objective: To establish economically sustainable and profitable flight services on regional routes, making air travel affordable for the general public, even in smaller towns.
  • The scheme is designed to extend connectivity to airports in India that are either underserved or underserved. 
    • Underserved airports have no more than one daily flight, while unserved airports have no flight operations.
  • UDAN’s evolution has seen it progress from UDAN 1.0 to UDAN 5.2, with each iteration addressing specific challenges and requirements. 


UDAN Version Key Highlights
UDAN 1.0
  • 5 airline companies awarded 128 flight routes to 70 airports, including 36 newly operational airports
UDAN 2.0
  • Introduction of 73 underserved and unserved airports, including helipad connectivity
UDAN 3.0
  • Inclusion of Tourism Routes in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism
  • Introduction of seaplanes for connecting Water Aerodromes
  • Expansion of the scheme to encompass various routes in the North-East Region
UDAN 4.0
  • Focus on enhancing connectivity in the North-Eastern regions, hilly states, and islands
  • Incorporation of helicopter and seaplane operations
UDAN 5.1
  • Creation of opportunities for helicopter routes and expansion of prospects for helicopter operators
  • Increased Viability Gap Funding (VGF) and reduced airfare caps
UDAN 5.2 (Ongoing)
  • Aims to improve connectivity in remote and regional areas, with a particular emphasis on smaller aircraft (less than 20 seats)


RCS-UDAN’s Impact on Aviation Industry:

  • Expanded Fleet: RCS-UDAN has diversified the aircraft fleet serving RCS routes, including Airbus, Boeing, ATR, DHC, Embraer, and Tecnam models. Indian carriers have ordered over 1,000 aircraft for the next decade, significantly expanding the nation’s fleet.
  • Tourism Promotion: RCS-UDAN not only offers last-mile connectivity but also boosts tourism. It has introduced tourism routes, especially in the Northeast, and expanded helicopter services in hilly regions, stimulating tourism, hospitality, and local economic growth.
  • Connectivity: RCS-UDAN has connected 30 States/Union Territories with 75 operational airports, including eight in the Northeast. Several airports, like Darbhanga, Hubli, Kannur, and Mysuru, have become self-sustaining with non-RCS commercial flights, enhancing connectivity and regional development.
  • Airlines Growth: Four new airlines have opened in the past six years, promoting a sustainable aviation business model.
  • Diverse Aircraft Demand: The scheme’s expansion has fueled demand for various aircraft types, from helicopters and seaplanes to propeller and jet planes.


Challenges Faced by the RCS-UDAN:

  • Infrastructural Constraints: In remote areas, inadequate airport infrastructure requires significant upgrades to facilitate air travel.
  • High Operating Costs: Operating in remote regions involves elevated costs that can affect the profitability of airline services.
  • Airfare Caps: Airfare caps can restrict airline revenue, potentially discouraging services on specific routes.
  • Commercial Viability: Certain routes do not exhibit the necessary demand for airlines to operate profitably, even with subsidies.
  • Route Cessation: Several RCS routes have ceased operations, sparking concerns about the scheme’s sustainability.


National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) 2016
The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) 2016 is a comprehensive framework to develop India’s civil aviation sector. 

  • Vision: 
    • NCAP 2016 envisions creating an ecosystem to make air travel affordable for the masses, with a target of 30 crore domestic ticketing by 2022 and 50 crore by 2027. 
    • It also aims to increase international ticketing to 20 crore by 2027.
  • Mission: 
    • The mission of NCAP is to ensure safe, secure, affordable, and sustainable air travel for passengers and cargo transportation, providing access to various parts of India and the world.
  • Objectives: 
    • NCAP aims to establish an integrated ecosystem to drive substantial growth in the civil aviation sector, boost tourism, generate employment, and promote balanced regional development. 
    • It also prioritises the safety, security, and sustainability of the aviation industry through the use of technology and effective monitoring.
  • Impact: 
    • The growth in aviation is expected to have a significant multiplier effect, leading to increased investments, tourism, and employment opportunities, especially for unskilled and semi-skilled workers. 
    • This policy marks a step toward positioning India as a global hub for civil aviation by 2022.


UDAN has enhanced air connectivity to remote regions, stimulated airline growth, and boosted tourism in India’s aviation industry. However, challenges related to commercial viability and airline sustainability remain. To ensure sustained air connectivity in smaller areas, collaboration among the government, industry stakeholders, and local authorities is vital. Key focus areas should include infrastructure, subsidies, operations, and awareness.


Sources: Minister of Civil Aviation and accessible air travel for all


Q1. With reference to Ude Desh Ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN), consider the following statements: 

  1. The UDAN scheme has been implemented by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. 
  2. It aims to establish economically sustainable and profitable flight services on regional routes.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2  

(d) Neither 1 nor 2 

Answer: (c) 


Q2. Consider the following statements with reference to UDAN: 

  1. The UDAN Scheme is based on India’s National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) 2016.  
  2. It also incorporates helicopter and seaplane operations to improve connectivity. 
  3. The scheme aims to extend connectivity to airports in India that have no more than ten daily flights.

How many of the statements are correct?

(a) Only one 

(b) Only two 

(c) All three 

(d) None

Answer: (b)


Q3. Examine the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) in the context of India’s National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) 2016.

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