What’s behind Iconic Tourist Sites initiative?

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By Moderator July 29, 2019 14:27

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During her Budget speech earlier this month, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that 17 “Iconic Tourist Sites” in the country would be developed by the government “into world class tourist destinations, to serve as a model for other tourism sites”.

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  • The sites are Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh), Ajanta & Ellora (Maharashtra), Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar (Delhi), Colva (Goa), Amer Fort (Rajasthan), Somnath and Dholavira (Gujarat), Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh), Hampi (Karnataka), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Kaziranga (Assam), Kumarakom (Kerala) and the Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar).
  • The initiative was aimed at enhancing India’s soft power.
  • Union Tourism and Culture Minister Prahlad Patel informed that the government is looking at overall development from the tourism point of view in and around these sites — which includes roads and infrastructure, hotels and lodges, connectivity and access
    • Several ministries, from Railways to Civil Aviation, will be involved, while the Tourism Ministry will be the nodal agency.
    • In keeping with international standards, interventions in and around the monuments will have elements of universal accessibility, green technology, and enhanced security for tourists.
  • The Tourism Ministry has been allocated Rs 1,378 crore for the development of tourism infrastructure. This is only marginally more than the allocations in 2017-18 (Rs 1,151 crore) and 2018-19 (Rs 1,330 crore).
  • Many of these monuments were opened up for adoption in late 2017 under the Ministry of Tourism’s Adopt a Heritage scheme.
    • But the momentum of the scheme has slowed down since, and only 11 MoUs have been signed so far

Adopt a Heritage scheme

  • The ‘Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’ scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India.
  • Under it, the government invites entities, including public sector companies, private sector firms as well as individuals, to develop selected monuments and heritage and tourist sites across India.
  • Development of these tourist sites calls for providing and maintaining basic amenities, including drinking water, ease of access for the differently abled and senior citizens, standardised signage, cleanliness, public conveniences and illumination, along with advanced amenities such as surveillance systems, night-viewing facilities and tourism facilitation centres.
  • The sites/monument are selected on the basis of tourist footfall and visibility and can be adopted by private and public sector companies and individuals — known as Monument Mitras — for an initial period of five years.
    • The Monument Mitras are selected by the ‘oversight and vision committee,’ co-chaired by the Tourism Secretary and the Culture Secretary, on the basis of the bidder’s ‘vision’ for development of all amenities at the heritage site.
  • There is no financial bid involved.
  • The corporate sector is expected to use corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds for the upkeep of the site.
    • The Monument Mitras, in turn, will get limited visibility on the site premises and on the Incredible India website.
  • The oversight committee also has the power to terminate a memorandum of understanding in case of non-compliance or non-performance.
    • The Red Fort was adopted by the Dalmia Group, while the Qutub Minar and the Ajanta Caves were adopted by Yatra Online.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/what-is-adopt-a-heritage-scheme/article23866697.ece

Moderator
By Moderator July 29, 2019 14:27