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Amartya Sen only Bharat Ratna to avail free air travel 21 times in five years Amartya Sen

Amartya Sen only Bharat Ratna to avail free air travel 21 times in five years

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 02 Jun 2021, 06:26 pm

Mumbai/IBNS: An RTI filed by India Today has revealed that Nobel laureate and Bharat Ratna awardee Amartya Sen availed free Air India tickets, a perk granted by the Indian government to honour recipents of India's highest civilian award,  21 times in course of five years, from 2015 to 2019.

In the Right to Information (RTI) request filed with Air India, the news organisation sought to learn when this perk was started, how many times it has been availed by the recipients and the monetary value of the perks availed.

In the application, India Today specifically tried to learn about the number of times Nobel laureate and Bharat Ratna awardee Amartya Sen had availed this perk.

Air India responded: "...the procedure for issuance of free tickets to Bharat Ratna awardees was circulated by erstwhile Indian Airlines on 25/08/2003."

In 2003, the Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government was at the Centre. Hence,it became clear, who started the perk.

“The above decision has been taken as a mark of respect to the esteemed personalities for their highly acclaimed contribution in their respective fields. It is therefore, our endeavour to provide all assistance in facilitating their travel requirements," explained the circular issued by the erstwhile Indian Airlines, which the national carrier shared in its response to India Today.

The circular further tells that “applicable taxes and other levies will be borne by Indian Airlines” and “the tickets will be issued in Economy Class but will be upgraded to Executive Class”.

On Amartya Sen, Air India said the Nobel laureate has availed this facility 21 times from 2015 till 2019, India Today said.

However, the monetary value of his travels could not be calculated as the "fare prevailing on time and date of travel is not stored”, Air India added in its response.

Air India also underscored that apart from Amartya Sen, no other Bharat Ratna recipient has availed the benefit of this scheme.

Till date, 48 people have been awarded Bharat Ratna. Fourteen people given the award posthomously, whilch leaves 34 people.

Apart from Amartya Sen, only three other reipients---Sachin Tendulkar (2014), Professor C N R Rao (2014) and Lata Mangeshkar (2001) are alive.