In a bid to boost regional air connectivity, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the revival of 50 unserved or underserved airports at a cost of Rs 4,500 crore over a period of three years starting FY-18. Separately, in a meeting on Monday evening, the union cabinet approved India’s accession to the Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets (TIR Convention), paving the way for faster movement of goods across borders.
The Union cabinet also gave expost facto approval for agreement between Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Ltd and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company of the UAE for 0.81MMT or 5,860,000 million barrels of crude oil at a storage facility in Mangalore in Karnataka.
The proposal to revive smaller airports will help the government implement the regional connectivity scheme that aims to make common man fly by capping fares at Rs 2,500 hour of flight. In the first phase of the regional connectivity scheme, the government is going to start regional flight to around 43 airports across the country.
About 15 airports airstrips each would be revived during 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively. The third year -2019-20 will see revival of 20 airports airstrips, the government said in a statement.
“The Revival of airstrips airports will be ‘demand driven’, depending upon firm commitment from airline operators as well as from the State Governments for providing various concessions as Airports will be developed without insisting on financial viability,“ the statement said.
Airports Authority of India will provide part of the funding and the central government will also pitch in through a budget grant.
The TIR Convention will get Indian traders access to fast, easy, reliable and hassle free international system for movement of go ods by road or multi-modal means across the territories of other countries that join the agreement. Under the TIR, movement can be allowed by checking only the seals and the external conditions of the load compartment or the container, reducing border delays, transport and transaction costs.
There will also not be any inspection of goods at intermediate borders en route escorts will not be needed due to reciprocal recognition of customs controls.
Besides, customs clearance can take place at internal customs locations, avoiding clearances at congested border crossing points.
“The TIR Convention can be an instrument for movement of goods along the International “North-South“ Transport (INSTC) Corridor and would be helpful in boosting trade with the Central Asian Republics and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), particularly using ports in Iran like the Chabahar port,“ the government said in a statement.