States across the country will be the beneficiaries of the expanding aviation sector, and should consequently not look it through a centre versus state prism, Union minister Suresh Prabhu on February 28 said.
“States will be the biggest beneficiaries (of expanding aviation sector). So we should not look at it as you against us. Because we (centre) can say this is your problem,” the Civil Aviation minister said at “Wings 2019”, a conference organised by his ministry and FICCI.
Noting that both the Centre and state should have a common platform for expanding aviation sector, he said every problem of the sector is “our” problem “because when people vote for the central government or state government, the voters are the same, it is just that they choose different governments”.
He said, “Aviation is a subject where you can not make the mission possible for letting everyone fly unless we can make state governments part of this process. They will be partners in progress. They should be beneficiary in progress. They should be drivers of this progress.”
Prabhu said that the central government’s regional connectivity scheme “UDAN would never have taken off and would have still been grounded had there been no state participation”.
The regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying affordable.
Prabhu said, “State governments should not be used only as emergency landing platforms but states should regularly benefit from this. So, we really look forward to states becoming, regular, permanent, and active partners with us to make it the reality.”
Talking about the third set of bidding under UDAN scheme that finished a few weeks before, he said, “UDAN 3 is the landmark event because for the first time, the planes which will land on water, will also work. And for the first time, UDAN has taken off to cross India’s national geographical boundaries to go into the other countries.”
“These are two significant events and now we want to find out more ideas that can come in so that we can actually take it forward,” he added.