All regional directors handpicked during UPA regime to be sent packing by tourism ministry
In a major move the Ministry of Tourism and Culture will now replace all the regional directors of tourism and culture appointed during Congress led UPA rule. This exercise is initiated to ‘spruce up’ the image of Incredible India and ensure efficient system for cultural exchange within the country, said sources.
The plan was recently approved by Mahesh Sharma, Minister (Independent Charge) for Culture and Tourism who also wants the exercise to be completed before the Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav (RSM).
According to a senior officer in the Ministry, the procedure was initiated to remove the chiefs of all the seven Zonal Cultural Centers (ZCC) in Ministry of Culture and five Regional Offices of Incredible India across the country. As per the rule, these posts are filled through deputation for three years with an extension of two more years. This is only applicable to officers at the level of Directors and Deputy Directors.
The minister is of the view that workers have occupied their offices for years through extension and are now acting as impediments in implementing the new schemes, said sources.
“There are officers who have been serving for the past 14 years. The minister thinks that these officers are stonewalling the implementation of initiatives of the ministry to promote tourism and cultural exchange,” said sources. The multiple extensions to some officers have irked the BJP government at the Centre.
As tourism plays an important part in the country’s revenue, the ministry now wants to send these officers packing these and implement a revised strategy to achieve the targets. According to the new strategy, the new team will be asked to identity five to ten major projects in their areas related to tourism and culture. And also, get approval from the ministry and implement them in stipulated time.
The RSM is scheduled to be held in Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh between March 2 to 6, said sources. The cultural fest will also be organised in Bengaluru and Jammu & Kashmir this year.
“The Ministry is also planning to cap the tenure at three years with no provision of extension in the future,” the source added.
The Regional Offices of Tourism are in Chennai, Guwahati, Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi while ZCCs of culture are situated in Udaipur, Patiala, Kolkata, Thanjavur, Allahabad, Dimapur and Nagpur.