Govt plans to turn 17 ‘iconic’ tourist sites into world-class destinations

Marginal increase in outlay for culture, tourism ministries
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New Delhi: The outlay for tourism and culture ministries saw marginal increase of 1.82 per cent and 7 per cent respectively in the Union Budget 2019-2020.

Rs 1,378.53 crore has been allocated for building tourism infrastructure, while Rs 575.50 crore has been allocated for promotion and publicity. For the culture ministry, an allocation of Rs 875.33 crore has been made for central schemes and projects.

With a focus on developing infrastructure, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday said 17 "iconic sites" will be transformed into world-class destinations to give a boost to the tourism sector.

"The government is developing 17 iconic Tourism Sites into world-class tourist destinations and to serve as a model for other tourism sites. The Iconic Tourism Sites would enhance visitor experience which would lead to increased visits of both domestic and international tourists at these destinations," she said in her maiden Budget speech.

While the funds for the Tourism Ministry was Rs 2,150 crore in the 2018-2019 Budget, it rose to Rs 2,189.22 crore in 2019-2020. The allocation for the Culture Ministry, which was Rs 2,843.32 crore in 2018-2019, increased to Rs 3,042.35 crore for 2019-2020.

The finance minister said the government will take measures to ensure that the rich tribal culture of the country is preserved.

"With the objective of preserving rich tribal cultural heritage, a digital repository is developed where documents, folk songs, photos and videos about their evolution, place of origin, lifestyle, architecture, education level, traditional art, folk dances and other anthropological details of the tribes in India are stored. The repository will further be enriched and strengthened," Sitharaman said.

"One hundred new clusters will be set up in 2019-20 to enable 50,000 artisans to come into the economic value chain," she said, adding, "The government will launch a mission to integrate traditional artisans and creative persons with the global market to obtain patents for them."