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‘Digi Yatra’ initiative to make flying simpler

The Ministry of Civil Aviation under the proposed “Digi Yatra” initiative is looking forward to make boarding pass and security check-ins digital at airports using Aadhaar and mobile phones. Under this initiative, a digital mode for airport entry and verification of passengers would be used. The move is aimed to ease the security and boarding procedure. In a sum, the initiative aims to make the whole air travel experience completely digital. According to the civil aviation minister Jayant Sinha, the proposed initiative would not require any paperwork and the traveller will be securely identified through Aadhaar number, passport or other documents. The ministry is now working on establishing a uniform set of standards and protocols which can be applied across the system. The ministry expects to roll out the initiative in the coming months.

In addition, the ministry is also in the process of coming up with an approach to have a no-fly list based on safety. The government has decided to come with a no-fly list in the wake of instances of unruly behaviour by air passengers that endanger the safety of all passengers in an aircraft. By having a ‘no fly list’, the government wants to ensure that the unruly passengers are not able to fly and are appropriately dealt with.

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Government launches Test and Treat policy for HIV

Union Health Minister JP Nadda has launched the Test and Treat policy for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) patients. As per this new policy, anyone who is tested and found positive will get the necessary treatment free of cost. Anyone found positive will be provided with ART (Anti- Retroviral Therapy) irrespective of his CD count.  The scheme will be a centrally sponsored scheme. All men, women, adolescents and children who have been diagnosed positively can benefit under this new policy.

HIV destroys the CD4 T cells in the human body and weakens the immunity levels. A person who has CD4 cell count below 200 is considered to be at significant risk of developing serious illnesses. Before the announcement of this new policy, the government was providing free treatment to people with a count of 400 and below.

Government initiatives

The government is set to soon launch a National Strategic Plan for HIV for the next seven years, which will be significant for ending AIDS. Recently, the government also passed the long-pending HIV/AIDS Act. The HIV/AIDS Act has the key provisions such as the prohibition of discrimination, informed consent, non-disclosure of HIV status, anti-retroviral therapy and opportunistic infection management, protection of property of affected children, safe working environment and provision for the appointment of ombudsman in every state.

In India, around 21 lakh people are estimated to have HIV. Out of them, only about 14 lakh people have been identified yet. To identify the remaining cases, the government has revised national HIV testing guidelines. Recently, the treatment provided by about 1,600 ART and Link ART sites have crossed the 1 million people mark making the country the second in the world to have such large number of people on free lifelong treatment.

AIDS

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a retrovirus. It is also known as human T-lymphotropic virus-III (HTLV-III), lymphadenopathy-associated virus (LAV), and AIDS-associated retrovirus (ARV). Transmission of HIV involves anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, an exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.

 

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PM launches UDAN Scheme

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) scheme from Jubbarhatti, an airport on the outskirts of Shimla. ‘Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik’ means ‘the common man flies’. He flagged of the first UDAN flight under Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) on Shimla-Delhi sector. UDAN flights on Kadapa–Hyderabad, and Nanded-Hyderabad sectors were also flagged off.

Salient Highlights

Around 45 unserved and under-served airports are set to be connected under UDAN scheme to make flying more affordable. The airports to be connected under UDAN include Bhatinda, Bhavnagar, Durgapur, Jaisalmer, Puducherry, and Shimla.

Under this scheme, five operators will operate flights services on 128 routes that will connect 70 airports through 19-78 seater aircrafts. The operators are Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services, Air Deccan, Air Odisha, Turbo Megha, and Spice Jet.

As per the modalities of the scheme, airfare for a one-hour journey of 500 km has been capped at an all-inclusive charge of Rs. 2,500. For longer routes and flight duration, the pricing will vary. A single person will be entitled to buy 9 to 40 seats in a flight. However, only 50% of the seats will be sold at Rs 2500 per seat per hour. The airlines can sell the rest of the tickets at market rates.

Significance

UDAN scheme will make flying easier and affordable for the common man. It is hailed as the first-of-its-kind scheme globally to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism. UDAN network will cover the whole country. Accordingly, 24 airports in the western region, 17 airports in the northern region, 11 in the southern region, 12 in east and 6 in north-eastern parts of the country are proposed to be connected under UDAN. The scheme is expected to have positive effects on the economy in terms of employment and investment. The scheme will also promote tourism and balanced regional growth.

UDAN

The ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik’ RCS (Regional Connectivity Scheme) was launched in October 2016. It is considered as a vital component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was released on June 15, 2016.

The scheme has been launched to provide connectivity to un-served and under-served airports of the country through revival of existing air-strips and airports. This is first of its kind scheme and will be implemented for a period of 10 years. As of now, 128 routes have been identified and declared in the RCS map of India. The key objective of the UDAN scheme is to provide regional connectivity so that persons in regional towns are able to take affordable flights.

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