Rajya Sabha Current Affairs - 2019

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Rajya Sabha passes Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Bill 2019

The Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has been passed by Rajya Sabha. The bill seeks to amend Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008. It is yet to be passed by Lok Sabha.

Salient Features of Amendment Bill

Definition of major airports: The Bill seeks to amend definition of major airport as any aerodrome which has or is designated to have annual passenger traffic of over 35 lakh instead of existing 15 lakh. Currently, major airports with an annual capacity to handle 15 Lakh passengers come under purview of AERA.

Tariff determination by AERA:

At present as per the Act, AERA is responsible for determining-

  • the tariff for aeronautical services at different airports every 5 years
  • the development fees of major airports
  • the passengers service fee.

Moreover AERA can also call for necessary information to determine tariffs and perform any other tariff-related functions, such as amending tariffs if necessary in interim periods.

Amendment Bill adds that AERA will not determine the tariff, tariff structures and development fees, in certain cases. These cases include the case of privatised airports where such tariff amounts were a part of bid document (offered at the time of the privatisation) on basis of which airport operations were awarded.  Although AERA will be consulted by concessioning authority before incorporating such tariffs in bid document, and such tariffs must be notified.

About Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India

AERA is a regulator that has powers to set tariffs charged at airports.

It was established by Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India Act, 2008.

It is an independent economic regulator for protection of interests of airports, airlines and passengers.

Function: It regulates tariffs and other charges for aeronautical services provided at civilian airports with annual traffic above 15 lakh passengers. It also monitors performance standard of services across these airports.

Indian Railways conducting trials of Tri-Netra technology

Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal during Question Hour informed Rajya Sabha members that Indian Railways is conducting TRI-NETRA (Terrain Imaging for Drivers Infrared, Enhanced, Optical & Radar Assisted) technology for detecting obstructions on tracks.

Key Highlights

Background: First in 2002-03 India Railways has developed a modern technology and tried it extensively but it was found to be not successful. So the project was aborted and subsequently another technology of Fog-past devices for seeing in fog was developed. Thus, TRI-NETRA system is another attempt by Indian Railways to develop modern technology.

Trial & Test: Indian Railways is conducting extensive trials of Tri-Netra technology so as to be sure that it is perfect in detecting any obstruction on tracks during fog. Therefore without proper testing it cannot be implemented as it does not give Railways the confidence to implement technology.

About TRI-NETRA

TRI-NETRA is abbreviation for Terrain Imaging for Drivers Infrared, Enhanced, Optical & Radar Assisted system.

It comprises of infrared camera, optical camera and radar assisted imaging system for assisting loco pilots in identifying obstructions on tracks, mainly in foggy conditions.

This device is making an attempt during fog via ultrasonic waves by help of which it will be able to detect any obstruction on tracks.

The field trials being undertaken is for proof of concept and its testing on all parameters will be done after its procurement.