Air India Current Affairs - 2020

Vandhe Bharat Mission: The Biggest Evacuation Exercise begins

On May 7, 2020, the Government of India is to begin “Vandhe Bharat Mission”. The mission is considered as one of the biggest evacuation exercise.

Highlights

The Vandhe Bharat Mission aims at bringing stranded Indians from all over the world. More than 14,800 Indians are stranded abroad. The mission also aims at operating non-scheduled commercial flights. These commercial flights will carry people to London and Singapore and also selected places in USA.

The flights are being operated based on the Standard of Procedure issued by Ministry of Home Affairs.

Operating Procedure of the mission

Under the mission, the people evacuated are to compulsorily download “Arogya Setu” application. After returning to India, these people are to be kept under quarantine for 14 days.

During evacuation, people facing medical emergencies, pregnant women, students, elderly people are to be given priority. Also, the mission is conduct medical screening before the flights. Among them, only asymptomatic patients are alone allowed to board the flight.

The flights will fly from key cities of India such as Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru.

History

The entire Vandhe Bharat Mission is to be led by Air India. The Air India in 1990 had conducted similar mission. During the mission, around 111,711 Indians were air lifted from the Gulf after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

Cabinet Approval: Foreign Direct Investment Policy on Civil Aviation

On March 4, 2020, the Union Cabinet under PM Modi cleared the Foreign Direct Investment Policy on Civil Aviation. According to the policy, 100% FDI is permitted in the air transport services. Earlier only 49% was available for sale to NRIs

Benefit

The main benefit of the policy is that it will help in divestment of Air India. The amendment in the policy will permit NRIs to invest in Air India. The policy will also improve ease of doing business in the country.  It will also contribute to growth, income and employment.

Concern

The policy says that for Air India the foreign investment shall not exceed 49%. This means that though 100% FDI is allowed, the automatic route is open only to NRIs.

Other Airlines

For other airlines other than Air India, 100% FDI is permitted under automatic route. This includes domestic, scheduled and other air transport services.