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Budget cuts to civil aviation ministry ‘unreasonable’, House panel recommends adding funds

The standing committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture headed by Rajya Sabha BJP MP T.G. Venkatesh, has recommended that a high fund be allocated to the ministry at the Revised Estimate (RE) 2021-2022 stage so as to give the needed push to India’s aviation sector.

In its report tabled Wednesday, the committee noted that “it is unreasonable that instead of giving an enhanced budgetary allocation, there has been a significant shortfall in the BE 2021-22 allocation of the Ministry. This surely is a matter of grave concern.”

The report also highlighted how the Rs 3,224.67 crore allotted to the civil aviation ministry was a 14 per cent drop from Rs 3,758.72 crore, the ministry’s projected requirement.

T he aviation industry faced on aviation e of the most testing times in 2020 owing to the several changes that were put in place in view of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, from a complete halt of scheduled international flights for almost a year to restrictions on domestic travel.

The ministry had projected a requirement of Rs 1,358.85 crore, excluding a Rs 2,268.99 crore allocation for Air India Asset Holding Limited (SPV). The ministry, however, received Rs 915.16 crore for all schemes under the revenue section, such as Regional Connectivity Scheme (more popularly known as ‘Udan’) and Airports Authority of India’s Hollongi project in Arunachal Pradesh according to the reports published in aviationindia.net.

The Civil Aviation Secretariat, which acts as an industry facilitation body, was allotted Rs 44.83 crore as opposed to the projected Rs 66.13 crore, while the Udan scheme received Rs 600 crore as opposed to the Rs 806.05 crore that was sought.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau also received Rs 5.01 crore, lower than the Rs 17.64 crore that was projected. Similar reductions were noted in the budgetary allocations for the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udan Akademi among other bodies.

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