In a major news for Indian air travellers, Parliament on Friday cleared a bill for providing enhanced compensation to passengers in the event of baggage loss, delay in flights, injury and death. The carriage via Air (Amendment) Bill was passed in Lok Sabha on December 2015 and by the Rajya Sabha, with specific amendments, on March 2. The Bill, alongside the amendments, returned to the Lower House on Friday and was received by a voice vote. When it gets approval of the President and turns into an Act, the law would require Indian bearers to pay remuneration amount that is proportional to the rates paid by their global counterparts. It would permit the government to reconsider the liability limits of the airlines in line with the Montreal Convention, which was agreed to by India in May 2009. Among others, the remuneration for death in an air accident and the amount would be calculated on the premise of SDR (Special Drawing Rights). The Bill plans to raise as far as possible for harm if there should arise an occurrence of death or real damage for every individual from 1,00,000 SDR to 1,13,100 SDR. The liability for delay in carriage for each person will go up from 4150 to 4694 SDRs, which means the new compensation rate will rise to more than Rs 4.3 lakh against Rs 3.85 lakh. The liability in case of destruction, loss or delay in relation to the carriage of cargo has been raised from 17 SDR to 19 SDR. The currency value of the SDR is based on market exchange rates of a basket of major currencies - US dollar, Euro, Japanese Yen and Pound Sterling. The liability limits are revised once every five years by the UN body, International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on the premise of a decided expansion component of 13.1 percent, setting off a modification in the points of confinement.
(By:Neetu Gaur Sharma)