July 7, 2019
Provisions have been made for the restoration and upkeep of 17 iconic sites in the Union Budget this year
The Tourism Ministry was allocated US$314 million in the 2019-2020 budget to boost activity in the sector
Measures are also being taken to preserve the rich “tribal heritage’’ found around India to boost economy
Tourism sector is a major contributor to India’s economy in terms of GDP and employment opportunities
In the recent budget passed by the Government of India in July 2019, the Tourism Ministry was granted US$314 million, significantly higher than the monetary allocation last financial year of US$309 million. The government aims to further boost tourism in the country by enhancing the overall tourist experience in 17 iconic sites and develop multi-sectoral infrastructure to fulfill the diverse interests of incoming tourists.
The Ministry of Culture’s share of the money has also gone up, from US$408 million in 2018-2019 to US$437 million for 2019-2020. In the breakup, a sum of over US$195 million has been allocated for building tourism infrastructure while more than US$82.6 million has been allocated for promotion and publicity so more people are aware of the incredible opportunities India offers to its visitors.
The 17 iconic sites have been selected basis their existing popularity. The Union budget calls of restoration and upkeep of the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri in UP; Humanyun’s Tomb, Qutub Minar and Red Fort in New Delhi; Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra; Khajuraho in MP, Hampi in Karnataka, Colva beach in Goa, Somnath and Dholavira in Gujarat, Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, Kaziranga in Assam, Mahabodhi in Bihar, Amer Fort in Rajasthan and Kumarakom in Kerala. The aim is to make these iconic sites ‘world class’.
Moreover, along with adding to infrastructural improvements, the government is also working to preserve the unique culture of the indigenous tribes in the country. For the first time, a digital repository is being developed where documents, folk songs, photos and videos about the evolution of Indian tribes, their places of origin, lifestyle, and traditions along with other anthropological details will be stored to enrich our understanding about them.
Tourism sector in India contributes to a large proportion of the GDP while employing a significant chunk of the Indian population. India’s Tourism sector has been steadily growing over the years, with Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) growing at 14 per cent to 10.4 million in 2017-18 before reaching 10.6 million this year.