A bill, aimed at enhancing the compensation that airlines must pay to passengers in case of death, injury, lost baggage or even inordinate flight delays, was passed by the Lok Sabha today.
The Carriage by Air (Amendment) Bill, 2015, which was moved by Civil Aviation Minister P Ashok Gajapathi Raju and passed by a voice vote, intends to increase the compensation for death in an air accident to over Rs one crore from almost Rs 89 lakh now.
The Bill will enable the government to revise the liability limits of air carriers in line with the Montreal Convention, which was acceded to by India in May 2009. Once enacted, the measure would result in the Indian carriers paying compensation equivalent to the rates paid by their global counterparts.
Responding to concerns over safety, security and comfort of passengers expressed by members, Raju said “the ultimate thing is that this service sector has to improve. The government is never going to compromise on safety and security.”
While winding up a short discussion on the Bill, the Minister did admit that there was a lot of scope to improve airlines services.
He said he was looking into the suggestions made by various stakeholders on the latest draft aviation policy and promised to take appropriate action on that basis.
The Bill intends to raise the liability limit for damage in case of death or bodily injury for each person from 1,00,000 SDR (special drawing rights) to 1,13,100 SDR.
As per the latest exchange rate, the compensation limit rises to over Rs one crore from almost Rs 88.71 lakh at present. One SDR is equivalent to over Rs 90. The currency value of the SDR is based on market exchange rates of a basket of major currencies – US dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen and Pound Sterling.