Despite having funds, tourism ministry spends miserly on projects: Parl panel

Despite having funds, tourism ministry spends miserly on projects: Parl panel
The parliamentary committee on tourism has expressed serious concerns on lack of coordination between Tourism Ministry and state governments which, according to the committee, is the root-cause for delay in various development projects. According to the data provided by the ministry, it could spend only around 19.5 percent of the allocated Rs 2601 crore (financial year 2016-17) for 31 tourism projects , till February this year.
"The committee highlights the slow progress of the schemes under Swadesh Darshan even after three years. It may be due to the reason that the projects were ill-conceived and the states are not in a position to fulfil the guidelines of the scheme," said the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture headed by Rajya Sabha MP Mukul Roy.

The committee has recommended the tourism ministry to revisit the guidelines to ensure that the states are able to spend the allocated money as per their requirement.

"There is no integrated development of Budhist places which are spread among various states in the country. The need is to develop all the Buddhist places in a time bound manner as foreign nationals visiting India wish to visit all the sites," observed the committee.

The tourism ministry has identified seven places in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar for integrated development but the project is lagging behind the schedule.

"The three tourist circuits sanctioned in 2014-15 are still standing idle with an initial allocation of 20 percent or less of the sanctioned budget," said the committee. The committee reiterated to include famous Sabrimala temples in Kerala for inclusion in the PRASAD Scheme besides recommending Salasar Temple in Rajasthan to be included in Krishna Circuit. In the report the committee has also expressed concerns on fake tourists' guides and recommended to create infrastructure to produce trained tourist guides besides developing mechanism to take action against touts who cheat foreign tourists.

Siddheshwar Shukla

Siddheshwar Shukla

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