“It is a step towards making civil aviation a vibrant sector in our country, to rise to its full potential”, said Civil Aviation Minister, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju Pusapati while releasing the Draft Civil Aviation Policy here today. The new Civil Aviation Policy is expected to be in place by January 2015, he added. The Draft has been released for consultation with public and stakeholders within three weeks, after which six to seven groups of experts would be constituted to interact with stakeholders and review the inputs received during the process. Underlining the major shifts in the Draft in comparison to the earlier Civil Aviation Policy, the Minister said, “it aims to develop a transparent policy in which regulations for the Civil Aviation sector would be more meaningful.”
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Shri V. Somasundaran highlighted the salient features of the Draft Civil Aviation Policy in terms of better services and conveniences to flyers. The Draft notes that “airports are to be designed as integrated multi-modal hubs, so that they provide the best possible service levels as well as potential for growth. An integrated multi-modal hub should include rail, metro, bus and truck connectivity as well as accommodation and other services”, he added.
While developing airports, it is equally essential to ensure that related sectors such as access to manufacture, business, tourism and pilgrim centres are developed. This needs to be done in association with other Central Government Departments as well as the State Government/Union Territory.The six metropolitan airports at Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Hyderabad would be developed as major international hubs and would in future be the main access points for international travel to and from India.In future a “hub-and-spoke” model would be followed, which would also facilitate the development of regional networks and air connectivity as a whole. The existing bilateral agreements with foreign bilateral agreements will be designed in such a way as to facilitate the hub-and-spoke model.
The Draft puts emphasis on rationalizing the cost of Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF). Due to high rates of taxes, the cost of ATF in India is 40 to 45% higher than the international costs. Steps will be taken in association with the Ministry of Finance and State Governments to rationalize the rate of taxes so that our costs are competitive.Regarding development of the cargo sector, the Government proposes to substantially develop the transport of cargo by air for which there is considerable potential. To achieve the objective, the six metro airports will be developed as regional cargo hubs, integrating multi-modal transport facilities, cold chains and other commodity specific requirements. The turnaround time for cargo will be upgraded to international standards. Air Freight Stations will be developed in different parts of the country to streamline Customs clearance and to reduce congestion in the airports.
As institutional reforms,an Expert Committee will be constituted to develop a future roadmap for Air India. Airports Authority of India will be corporatised, followed by listing in the Stock Exchanges, in order to improve efficiency and transparency. Pawan Hans Ltd. will be listed in the Stock Exchanges with the same objective. A mission mode project will be set up to ensure that organizations under the Ministry are competitive in terms of efficiency and costs.
Government’s objective will be to provide optimum air connectivity to all regions, subject to commercial viability. A special package will be developed for the North-Eastern Region to improve air connectivity and provide linkages to remote locations. The Route Dispersal Guidelines will be reviewed with the objective of encouraging Indian carriers to enhance regional connectivity through deployment of small aircrafts and code sharing arrangements. The 5/20 guidelines will be reviewed with a view to encouraging the entry of new Indian carriers.
For development of the civil aviation sector, provision of Air Navigation Services (ANS) of international standards is essential. The Airports Authority of India has taken several initiatives in this direction. These would be intensified with the objective of reducing flying time, elimination of crowding at airports, direct routing of aircrafts from destination to destination and enhancing communication and navigation services to international standards.
Helicopter Aviation is a segment that has considerable potential for growth in areas such as reducing congestion in the big cities, medical evacuation, relief operations, law and order, oil exploration etc. Heliports and helipads will be developed in locations with sufficient potential. It is also proposed to provide suitable incentives to helicopter operators in respect of operational costs in the airports.The rules and regulations followed by DGCA will be upgraded to international standards. Systems will be introduced for online receipt and clearance of various permissions and clearances.
The functioning of Ministry of Civil Aviation and the offices under the Ministry will be digitized to improve efficiency and transparency. The service and clearances to be given by different agencies will be made online. Electronic procurement systems will be strengthened to ensure transparency and accountability.
The Draft Civil Aviation Policy is also available on the website of the Ministry of Civil Aviation: civilaviation.gov.in. The release ceremony was attended by key officials including Shri Rohit Nandan, Chairman & Managing Director, Air India, Dr. Prabhat Kumar, DGCA and Shri S. Raheja, Chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI).
Dr. Jitendra Singh Assumes Charge of Ministry for Development of North East Region
Calls Meeting of Chief Ministers of All Eight States of North-East
The new Minister for “Development of North-East Region” (DONER), Dr. Jitendra Singh has called a meeting of the Chief Ministers of all the eight States of North-East in the next few days in order to chart-out a concrete time-bound roadmap to ensure equitable development and economic upliftment of the region. Soon after taking over the charge of the office, the Minister wrote individual letters to each of the eight Chief Ministers spelling out his vision for the growth and development of the North-East region.
The Chief Ministers whom Dr. Jitendra Singh addressed individual letters include Nabam Tuki of Arunachal Pradesh, Tarun Gogoi of Assam, Okram Ibobi Singh of Manipur, Mukul Sangma of Meghalaya, Lal Thanhawla of Mizoram, T.R. Zeliang of Nagaland, Pawan Chamling of Sikkim and Manik Sarkar of Tripura. The Minister also wrote a similar letter to each of the Governors of eight North-Eastern States, namely Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Nirbhay Sharma of Arunachal Pradesh, Janaki Ballabh Patnaik of Assam, Dr. Krishan Kant Paul of Manipur, Meghalaya & Mizoram, Padmnabha Acharya of Nagaland & Tripura and Shriniwas Dadasaheb Patil of Sikkim.
Earlier, as a follow-up to the Cabinet expansion and reallocation of the ministerial portfolios by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh today formally took charge of the Ministry of “Development of North-Eastern Region” (DONER). He was greeted by senior officers of the Ministry led by Secretary DONER R. Vijaykumar on his arrival at the Vigyan Bhawan Annexe office of the Ministry.
Dr. Jitendra Singh has now been redesignated as Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Ministry of “Development of North-Eastern Region” (DONER), Minister of State in PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy & Space.
Talking to media after assuming the new charge, Dr. Jitendra Singh said, the development and concern of North-East is high on the agenda of the present government and he was conscious of the faith and responsibility that the Prime Minister had reposed in him by entrusting this charge to him.
The eight States of North-East have their own peculiarities and adversities, said Dr. Jitendra Singh and added that there was also a perception among the people of the region that they were not getting the deserved attention. He said, he will work to ensure that the pace of progress and development in North-East is the same as that in the rest of the country.
Railways and Roads Sign MoU on Policy Related to Constructions of Robs/Rubs on National Highway Corridors
Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Road Transport & Highways signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on policy related to constructions of ROBs/RUBs on National Highway corridors, here today. The MoU was signed in the presence of the Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu and the Minister of Road Transport & Highways Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari. The Minister of Railways Shri Manoj Sinha and Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways Shri Pon Radhakrishnan were also present on the occasion. Shri S.K.Pathak, Executive Director CE/B&S, Railway Board and Shri A.P.Pathak, Chief Engineer (Bridges), Ministry of Road Transport & Highways were signatories to the MoU.
Speaking on the occasion, Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu said that any initiative which removes bottlenecks is praiseworthy. He said that Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Modi ji has always emphasised on removing obstacles in implementing projects and on finding end to end solutions. He said that today’s initiative is a beginning in the right direction for resolving issues and same principles can be applied to resolve other pending issues. He said that efforts should be to become the part of the solution and not be a part of the problem. In his speech, the Minister for Road Transport & Highways Shri Gadkari said that with today’s initiative, Indian railways has done a very great contribution in resolving inter-ministerial issues. He said that the present web based initiative is in line with Digital India or e-Governance philosophy of Hon’ble Prime Minister. He said that it is a revolutionary step. Shri Gadkari said that his Ministry has taken up several projects for implementation and the present initiative will help them in a big way. He also said that his Ministry has started the concept of e-Toll which will save lot of time and money.
The Ministers Shri Manoj Sinha and Shri Pon Radhakrishnan, Chairman, Railway Board Shri Arunendra Kumar, Member Engineering, Railway Board Shri V.K.Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways Shri Vijay Chhibber also spoke on the occasion.
In tune with the mantra of fast track project execution given by Hon’ble Prime Minister, Ministry of Railway in consultation with Ministry of Road Transport & Highways have evolved a procedure for speedy clearance for Road Over/Under Bridges, Private Sidings and various Track Crossings. Ministry of Railways has developed a web-based programme for online submission of application for getting expeditious approval of various drawings related to ROBs/RUBs within 60 days. This programme includes all the standard span drawing developed by Railways, check list to be followed for preparation of General Arrangement Drawing and standard MOU.
This MoU will go a long way in improving safety of road users on National Highway and improve train operations. In this MOU, the responsibilities of Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Ministry of Railways have been clearly defined, thus resolving all interface issues between two Ministries. This will also give a big boost towards infrastructural development in the country and will generate lot of employment.
Under this MoU, Online tracking of various proposals under approval will be possible. Authorized representatives of Ministry of Railways and Ministry of Road Transport & highways can track the status of: new proposals under approval, the proposals which have already been approved, the stage of approval of the proposal, delay, if any, and reasons thereof. Through this MOU, there will be: speedy clearances of various design & drawings for construction of ROB/RUB on National Highway Corridors, clear cut defined responsibility for construction of ROB/RUB on National Highway Corridors
Shri Arun Jaitley, Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs assumed charge as Minister for Information & Broadcasting here today. Interacting with the media, Shri Jaitley said that the paradigms of information had expanded with the steady growth of electronic, print and digital media in the country. The information scenario had changed drastically since the days when the only sources of information were Doordarshan and Prasar Bharati. Currently, the media landscape had seen unprecedented growth within the radio and new media streams.
In his interaction with the media, Col. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, the Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, who also assumed charge today, said that he would strive to fulfil the responsibilities given to him.
Shri Jaitley also thanked outgoing Minister, Shri Prakash Javadekar for his unrelenting role in taking forward the mandate of the Ministry of I&B.