The Union Cabinet have finally cleared a new civil aviation policy. The policy has capped the airfares at Rs 2,500 for hour-long flights. Civil aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said that the policy also eased a rule restricting when newer airlines can start flying overseas. He has also tweeted that airlines would no longer need to wait for the five years of operations earlier required before they can begin flying abroad, but must still have 20 jets in their fleet. Also Read - West Bengal MBBS Seats Increased to 4,000: CM Mamata Banerjee

The policy seeks to strengthen regional connectivity with an aim of providing affordable aviation services in Tier-II and Tier-III cities. The policy also includes the auctioning of unilateral traffic rights, tax incentives for airlines, maintenance and repair works of aircraft besides mooting a 2% levy on all air tickets to fund regional connectivity scheme and providing viability gap funding for airlines to encourage operation on regional routes. Also Read - Will Convert All State-Run Madrasas Into a General School: Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma

On June 3, 2016 the civil aviation ministry had sent the policy for Cabinet’s approval. The NDA Government had for the first time unveiled the policy draft in November 2014, subsequently replacing it with another in October 2015. Also Read - Anything For Education: Goa Students Trek 3km Everyday to Reach Hilltop to Access Internet For Online Classes

Initially, the policy was expected to be finalised in the last financial year as certain proposals were to be in effect from April 1, 2016.

However, the government had been moving back and forth on the policy seeking to sort out the differences among stakeholders including on 5/20 norm. This policy is very new to India, and it had sought to encourage the growth of the nascent domestic aviation industry, but many officials said it inhibited Indian carriers from growing their share of international travel.

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