The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) launched the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-UDAN in October 2016, to promote regional air connectivity in the country including the North-Eastern region and creating additional infrastructure by revival of un-served and under-served airports/airstrips. The scheme was finalised after extensive consultation with all the stakeholders including state governments.
The indicative list of under-served and un-served airports in India also includes defence airports. However, for such airports, approval from the Ministry of Defence needs to be obtained for permitting joint use/civil operation under the scheme.
The primary objective of RCS is to stimulate regional air connectivity by making it affordable. Promoting affordability of regional air connectivity is envisioned under RCS by supporting airline operators through (i) concessions by the Central government, state governments and airport operators to reduce the cost of airline operations on regional routes and (ii) financial support (Viability Gap Funding or VGF) to meet the gap, if any, between the cost of airline operations and expected revenues on such routes. RCS-UDAN is a demand-driven scheme, where airline operators undertake assessment of demand on particular routes.
A Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF) has been created under powers conferred under Rule 88-B of the Aircraft Rules, 1937 to provide the VGF requirements under the scheme. The Central government has decided to impose a levy on scheduled flights being operated within India to fund the RCF.