Union Budget 2018: Civil aviation ministry will receive an increased budgetary allocation of Rs 6,602.86 crore in the next financial year, with a significant chunk kept aside for purchase of “two new aircraft” to be used for VVIP flights. The allocation is nearly three times higher than the amount of Rs 2,710.31 crore allocated to the ministry for this fiscal. In the Budget for 2018-19 presented today, an allocation of Rs 6,602.86 crore has been made for the ministry. Out of the total amount, Rs 4,469.50 crore would be for “purchase of two new aircraft for special extra section flight operations”, as per a Budget document. The two new planes — Boeing 777-300 ER — would be used for VVIP operations. Besides, the allocation for regional air connectivity scheme or UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) has been steeply increased to Rs 1,014.09 crore for the next fiscal.
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The same was at Rs 200.11 crore for the current financial year (2017-18). Debt-laden Air India, for which the government has started the process of disinvestment, would receive a budgetary support of Rs 650 crore under the turnaround plan in 2018-19. This is a significant decline from Rs 1,800 crore allocated for the current fiscal. As per the union budget 2018 document, an amount of Rs 506 crore is to come for Air India in the next fiscal by way of IEBR (Internal and Extra Budgetary Resources). IEBR refers to a company raising funds through internal resources and external borrowings. In the case of Airports Authority of India (AAI), the budgetary allocation has been slashed to Rs 73.31 crore from Rs 149.93 crore in 2017-18. AAI is to mop up Rs 4,086 crore by way of IEBR.
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The union budget 2018 document said that Grants-in-Aid is extended to AAI “as reimbursement of expenditure already done by them on the existing projects. The funds are provided for Pakyong airport”. Among others, Rs 50 crore has been allocated for Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Academy and National Aviation University. In 2018-19, both Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) would receive slightly higher allocation of Rs 210 crore and Rs 70 crore, respectively.
Helicopter services provider Pawan Hans is to raise Rs 9 crore through IEBR in next fiscal, according to the document. “We propose to expand our airport capacity more than five times to handle a billion trips a year under a new initiative – NABH (NextGen Airports for Bharat) Nirman. Balance sheet of AAI shall be leveraged to raise more resources for funding this expansion,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said in his union budget 2018 speech.