• Swadesh Darshan Scheme - Integrated Development of theme-based tourist circuits - is the flagship scheme of Ministry of Tourism for development of tourism infrastructure in the country. 
  • The duration of Swadesh Darshan Scheme is till the 14th Finance Commission Period i.e. March 2020.
  • The Scheme, being a central sector scheme, is 100?ntrally funded.

The scheme has following objectives (only the major ones and not the obvious ones):

  • Develop circuits having tourist potential in a planned and prioritized manner;
  • Promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions;
  • Follow community-based development and pro-poor tourism approach;

In January 2015 the Scheme was launched as a Central Sector Scheme with following five circuits:

  • Himalayan Circuit, 
  • North East Circuit, 
  • Krishna Circuit, 
  • Buddhist Circuit, and 
  • Coastal Circuit. 

Later, 10 more thematic circuits namely: 

  • Desert Circuit, 
  • Tribal Circuit, 
  • Eco Circuit, 
  • Wildlife Circuit, 
  • Rural Circuit, 
  • Spiritual Circuit, 
  • Ramayana Circuit, 
  • Heritage Circuit, 
  • Tirthankar Circuit and 
  • Sufi Circuit were added in the scheme making it to 15 thematic circuits.
  • The third-party evaluation of the scheme is carried, out by the National Productivity Council (Ministry of Industry). 

Definition of Tourist Circuit

  • Tourist Circuit is defined as a route having at least three major tourist destinations which are distinct and apart. 
  • Circuits should have well defined entry and exit points. 
  • A tourist who enters should get motivated to visit most of the places identified in the circuit.
  • A Circuit could be confined to a State or could be a regional circuit covering more than one State/Union Territory. 
  • These circuits may have one dominant theme and other sub-themes.

Tribal Circuit

  • The Ministry of Tourism, under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, has identified tribal circuit as one of the fifteen thematic circuits for development of tourism infrastructure in the country.
  • The objective is showcasing tribal culture, art, handicrafts and providing livelihood and enhance employment opportunities for tribal populations in the country.       
  • The tribal circuits under the scheme would be developed in the states of Nagaland, Chhattisgarh, and Telanagana.

Ramayana Circuit  

  • Further, fifteen destinations have been identified by the Government for development of tourism under the Ramayana Circuit. 
  • Ramayana Circuit is one of the fifteen thematic circuits identified for development under the Swadesh Darshan scheme of Ministry of Tourism. 

The Ministry has initially identified fifteen destinations namely:

  • Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur & Chitrakoot (Uttar Pradesh);
  • Sitamarhi, Buxar & Darbhanga (Bihar);
  • Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh);
  • Mahendragiri (Odisha);
  • Jagdalpur (Chattisgarh);
  • Nashik & Nagpur (Maharashtra);
  • Bhadrachalam (Telangana);
  • Hampi (Karnataka); and 
  • Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu).

Central Schemes

  • The central schemes are divided into central sector schemes and centrally sponsored schemes (CSS).

What is a Central Sector Scheme?

  • Central sector schemes are schemes with 100% funding by the Central government and implemented by the Central Government machinery. 
  • The central sector schemes are formulated on subjects mainly from the Union List. 
  • Besides, there are some other programmes that various Central Ministries implement directly in States and UTs which also come under Central Sector Schemes. 
  • In these schemes, the financial resources are not shifted to states.

What are Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS)? 

  • CCS are schemes that are implemented by state governments but are largely funded by the Central Government with a defined State Government share. 
  • Historically, CSS is the way through which central government helps states to run its Plans financially.
  • They are basically special purpose grants (or loans) extended by Central Government to states to encourage them to plan and implement programmes that help attain national goals and objectives. 
  • CSS are basically extended by the Central Government to States under Article 282 of the Constitution. 
  • It mainly covers items listed in states list.

National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD)

  • This Scheme was launched by the Ministry of Tourism in the year 2014-15 with the objective of holistic development of identified pilgrimage and heritage destinations. 

The total number of sites identified for development under the scheme at present are 24. They are:

  • Amaravati and Srisailam (Andhra Pradesh), 
  • Kamakhya (Assam), 
  • Patna and Gaya (Bihar), 
  • Dwarka and Somnath (Gujarat), 
  • Hazratbal and Katra (Jammu & Kashmir), 
  • Deogarh (Jharkhand), 
  • Guruvayoor (Kerala), 
  • Maa Chintpurni, Una (Himachal Pradesh, 
  • Omkareshwar (Madhya Pradesh), Trimbakeshwar (Maharashtra), 
  • Puri (Odisha), 
  • Amritsar (Punjab), 
  • Ajmer (Rajasthan), 
  • Kanchipuram and Vellankani (Tamil Nadu), 
  • Varanasi, and Mathura (Uttar Pradesh), 
  • Badrinath and Kedarnath (Uttarakhand) and 
  • Belur (West Bengal).