UDAN 5.0 to connect remote areas
Civil Aviation ministry has launched UDAN 5.0 to further enhance connectivity to remote areas. The Indian government has begun to invite bids from airlines for the 5th round of flagship regional connectivity scheme UDAN. This aims to provide better connections to remote and regional areas throughout the country. Aircraft operations of only Category 2 (20-80 seats) and Category 3 (> 80 seats) are applicable for this round. The state length (distance) cap of 600 km between origin and destination under UDAN has been waived.
“Network” and “Individual” route proposal by airlines would be considered in this round. The airlines would be required to submit an action/business plan after two months from the issuance of letter of authorization (LoA). Wherein they will submit their aircraft acquisition plan, availability of aircraft, crew, slots, etc, at the time of technical proposal.
Ship-leasing companies show interest in GIFT City
Several shipping companies, including those with Indian ownership, are looking to set base in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City). Financial benefits and fewer regulatory compliances bring GIFT City at par with international shipping hubs like Dubai and Singapore. International Finance Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) had implemented a framework for ship-leasing in August 2022 to attract shipping sector companies to India. 8 companies are about to receive authorization to set up ship leasing business at GIFT City. These include Foresight Shipping, Alphard Maritime group, among others.
Kochi Water Metro starts commercial operations
Kochi Water Metro began commercial operations from April 26 and was inaugurated by the Prime Minister. The boats began operating from High Court Water Metro Terminal and Vyppin Water Metro Terminal at 7 am. During peak hours, boat services are planned every 15 minutes on high-court Vypin routes. Initially 76 km will be covered by the Kochi Water Metro. The metro has started sailing with 8 electric-hybrid boats in two routes.
Deploying blended finance instruments for green projects
Finance ministry is exploring options to allow firms to deploy blended finance instruments for green projects. The use of blended finance promotes investments in new and emerging sectors. It attracts commercial capital towards projects that contribute to sustainable development. At the same time, it provides financial returns to investors. It holds the potential to catalyze private finance in such projects. SEBI and RBI are engaging with International Sustainability and Standards Board (ISSB) for standards to be issued on sustainable finance and climate finance.
NAREDCO and Delhi RERA launch training courses for Real Estate
National Real Estate and Development Council (NAREDCO) and RERA Delhi have launched NIRED (National Institute of Real Estate Development. NIRED will provide essential training and coaching to real estate players. This would also enhance quality and productivity of work in RE and infrastructure sectors. As per data from Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), RERA has disposed of 20,064 cases in Haryana by January 2023. UP has completed 42,460 cases. NIRED’s objective is to develop human capacity, recognizing professional fields such as planning, construction, building materials, new technologies, marketing and brokerage.
5.28 million houses built through Rural Housing Scheme
India has built a record 5.28 million houses under Rural housing scheme. Under the PMAY-Gramin, the central government bears 60% of the construction cost in most states. State governments contribute the rest. However, in north-eastern and hilly states, centres contribution is as high as 90%, and 100% in union territories. So far, 28.6 million houses have been sanctioned by the centre. Of these, 23.8 million houses have been built across states and union territories. MP is the biggest beneficiary with 3.42 million houses built, while UP and Jharkhand follow close. The revised estimate for FY23 is raised to Rs. 48,422 Crores.
ONDC to begin operations soon
Open Network for Digital commerce (ONDC) is gearing up for next phase of growth after onboarding over 84,000 sellers. It will formally be launched this year. The Commerce and Industry Minister held a meeting this week to review the progress of ONDC. ONDC is hailed as a UPI-type protocol that would democratize the e-commerce businesses by onboarding millions of small retailers in the country. ONDC allows a single-platform access to all domains. It enables buyers and sellers to be digitally visible and transact through an open network.