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Q. Regional Connectivity Scheme in Maharashtra: Discuss the newly planned Regional Connectivity Scheme.
Aug 26, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :


Recently Maharashtra government has embraced the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS). Regional Connectivity Scheme is central governments ambitious plan to use civil aviation to boost tourism, jobs and balanced regional growth across the country. RCS lends a fillip to India’s aim of emerging as the third largest aviation market by 2020.


  • Previously Ministry of Civil Aviation report (in last government) noted that States were becoming more receptive to the idea of promoting regional air connectivity. 
  • Report observed that the only way to get airlines to fly these thin routes would be by reducing operational costs. It highlighted two points: the immense potential that lay in activating the nearly 450 dormant airports and airfields, and the need for a subsidy fund, which is a global norm, in keeping such routes going.


  • The objective of RCS is to have 300-odd operational airports by 2030, from about 80 now, by tapping into the potential of regional routes. When linked to a concept such as a hub and spoke, of route flexibility and also feeding into larger airline operators and major aviation hubs, the sky was indeed the limit.
  • The planned RCS reflects the importance of Centre-State cooperation, in the form of viability gap funding, subsidised aviation fuel and a controversial fare cap, pivotal to enabling the scheme’s success.


  • But as private airlines having evinced interest but not having expressly committed themselves so far to the RCS, there is also the issue, going by experience, of whether the burden of operating such routes could end up ultimately falling on Air India.
  • Mysuru and Puducherry examples are illustrative and instructive. These operations had the backing of the respective governments but never reached cruise altitude.
  • Given the scale of the scheme, there is also the issue of providing air traffic control services.


  • For effective implementation both centre and states needs to be cooperate each other. States needs to provide free land and operational infrastructure, and that the Centre would have to agree to forego excise on aviation fuel and service tax on tickets signals that the scheme may end up testing the actual commitment of governments both at the Union and State levels.


The planned Regional Connectivity Scheme is welcome move to increase the regional connectivity in India. Maharashtra has became first state to sign the MoU under this scheme. Centre must analyse all the issues and address those before implementation. As there are concerns of air safety, hence there can be no room for compromise on this vital component of the aviation industry.

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