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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed 50 additional airports, heliports and advanced landing grounds for improving regional air connectivity during the Union Budget presentation on February 1.
The budgetary allocation for the Ministry of Civil Aviation, however, was slashed by 66% by virtue of reduced liabilities due to the privatisation of Air India. The Ministry has received a total ₹3,113 crore for the financial year 2023-2024 as compared to ₹9,363 crore in the revised estimates of the last fiscal.
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Air India Asset Holding Limited (AIAHL) or a special purpose vehicle of the government, where all liabilities and assets related to Air India have been parked, was allocated ₹7,200 last fiscal in order to service the airline’s debt moved here. This fiscal though the AIAHL has only been allocated ₹1,144 crore.
While the Finance Minister has announced more heliports and waterdromes under regional connectivity, the Scheme has only seen a marginal increase of ₹166 crore with a total of ₹Rs 1,244 crore earmarked.