70% allocation hike for tourism infrastructure development

Even as Arun Jaitely’s third budget does not seem to have gone down well with the stakeholders in the tourism industry, a close analysis of the budgetary paper clearly testifies that most of the reactions could well amount to jumping the gun. It is true that finance minister did not mention the ‘t’ word in his one and a half hour speech but allocation given to the tourism ministry marks a significant increase over the previous year’s figure. The allocation has been increased by a staggering 70 percent to support tourism related infrastructure development amounting to Rs.1,590 crore. Part of the allocation is also likely to be utilized in promotion and publicity initiatives.

arun-jaitley-budgetIn precise terms, while Rs.1500 crore allocation has been planned for the tourism ministry under the planned expenditure category, there is a further provision of  Rs.90 crore under non-plan head. The budgetary allocation to tourism ministry had stood at Rs.932 crore last year but during the course of 2016-17, the ministry will have far improved resources in its hand – around Rs.700 crore for Swadesh Darshan scheme and another Rs.100 crore for PRASAD scheme. Both these schemes have been initiated after the NDA government came to power in 2014. Swadesh Darshan is meant to promote theme based tourism circuits in the country while PRASAD has been initiated to give a facelift to the spiritual tourism segment in the country.

Of the total allocation of Rs.1590 crore, the finance ministry has also earmarked over Rs.400 crore for promotion – probably a signal that Ministry of Tourism will have the leeway to indulge in big-ticket buzz creation in the overseas markets.

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