The allocation for the civil aviation ministry in the Union Budget has more than halved to Rs 3,113.36 crore for next financial year, especially due to a sharp reduction in the amount set aside for Air India Asset Holding Ltd.

For 2022-23, the revised allocation is Rs 9,363.70 crore which is lower than Rs 10,667 crore estimated earlier.

The Budget for 2023-24, presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday, has allocated Rs 3,113.36 crore for the ministry. This includes Rs 3,026.70 crore from revenue and Rs 86.66 crore from capital.

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The sharp reduction is mainly on account of lower money set aside for AI Asset Holding Ltd (AIAHL), a special purpose vehicle formed by the government and that holds various assets of national carrier Air India.

Tata Group took over the control of Air India in January last year following the government’s disinvestment process.

In the latest Budget, Rs 1,114.49 crore has been allocated for AIAHL under the public sector undertakings segment of the minister.

For 2022-23, AIAHL was initially allocated Rs 9,259.91 crore, which was later revised to Rs 7,200 crore. However, this allocation was under the ‘central sector schemes/ projects’.

On the other hand, the latest budget has hiked the amount for regional air connectivity to Rs 1,244.07 crore for the next financial year starting April 1.

The allocation for the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) has been increased to Rs 73.74 crore and Rs 309 crore, respectively.

In next financial year, Airports Authority of India (AAI) is to raise Rs 3,448.21 crore by way of Internal and Extra Budgetary Resources (IEBR).

“Fifty additional airports, heliports, water aerodromes and advance landing grounds will be revived for improving regional air connectivity,” Sitharaman said in her Budget speech. PTI RAM ANU ANU