New Delhi , Feb 1 : The Union Budget 2023-24 announced today, highlighted Tourism as one of the major sectors contributing to the overall economy of the country. Emphasizing the fact that the country has immense attractions for both domestic and foreign tourists, the Finance Minister, Smt. Nirmala Seetharaman, stated that the sector holds huge opportunities for jobs and entrepreneurship for youth in particular and stated that promotion of tourism will be taken up on mission mode, with active participation of states, convergence of government programmes and public-private partnerships.
The Union Minister of Tourism, G. Kishan Reddy expressed his gratitude to the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister for the continued focus placed on the development of large infrastructure, connectivity and border linkages, which will play a major role in boosting tourism in India. The ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ initiative of the Ministry of Tourism also got a well deserved spotlight in Union Budget speech, highlighting the importance of domestic tourism in boosting local economy.
Out of the total Rs. 2400 crores allocated to Ministry of Tourism, major portion of the outlay amounting to Rs. 1742 crore is allocated for development of Tourism infrastructure & an amount of Rs. 242 crore for promotion and branding. An outlay of Rs. 1412 crore has been allocated for the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. Swadesh Darshan is a flagship scheme of Ministry of Tourism. The Finance Minister announced that with an integrated and innovative approach, 50 tourist destinations would be developed for providing a wholesome tourism experience providing physical, digital and virtual connectivity, availability of tourist guides and tourist security. Such destinations would be developed as a complete package under the ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’. An integrated and innovative ‘Vibrant Village Programme’ for development of tourism infrastructure and facilities in border villages has been proposed.
An amount of Rs. 250 crores has been allocated for the PRASHAD Scheme. The PRASHAD Scheme aims for holistic development of selected pilgrimage destinations in the country.
The Champion Service Sector Scheme has been provided an allocation of Rs. 196.22 crores. Allocation of Rs. 105 crore has been made for Human Resource Development and capacity building to meet the requirement of trained manpower in the tourism and hospitality sector.
The Ministry has earmarked an allocation of Rs. 229 crore for tourism infrastructure, promotion of North-Eastern States under this year’s Budget allocation.
The Finance Minister announced that an App will be developed covering all relevant aspects of tourism. States will be encouraged to set up Unity Malls in State Capital as the most prominent tourism centres to promote One District One Product, GI products, handicrafts and products of other States.
Sector specific skilling and entrepreneurship development will be dovetailed to achieve the objectives of the‘Dekho Apna Desh’initiative. This was launched as an appeal by the Prime Minister to the middle class to prefer domestic tourism over international tourism.
As a Whole-of-government approach, some Announcements that may indirectly aid tourism sector :
PM VIshwakarma Kaushal Samman (PMVIKAS)
A package of assistance has been conceptualized for encouraging traditional arts and handicrafts. The art and handicraft created by the artisans represents the true spirit of Atma Nirbhar Bharat. The components of the scheme will include not only financial support but also access to advanced skill training, knowledge of modern digital techniques and efficient green technologies, brand promotion, linkage with local and global markets, digital payments, and social security.
Amrit Dharohar – Wetlands are vital ecosystems which sustain biological diversity. In his latest Mann Ki Baat, the Prime Minister highlighted the increase in total number of Ramsar sites in our country to 75 from 26, few years back. The government will promote their unique conservation values through Amrit Dharohar, a scheme that will be implemented over the next three years to encourage optimal use of wetlands, and enhance bio-diversity, carbon stock, eco-tourism opportunities and income generation for local communities.
Viability gap funding to promote coastal shipping – Coastal shipping will be promoted as the energy efficient and lower cost mode of transport, both for passengers and freight, through PPP mode with viability gap funding.
Relief for MSMEs – Budget has proposed revamping of the credit guarantee scheme for MSMEs. The revamped scheme will take effect from 1st April 2023 through infusion of Rs. 9,000 crore in the corpus. This will enable additional collateral-free guaranteed credit of Rs. 2 lakh crore. Micro enterprises with turnover up to Rs. 2 crore and certain professionals with turnover of up to Rs. 50 lakh can avail the benefit of presumptive taxation. Budget has proposed to provide enhanced limits of Rs. 3 crore and Rs. 75 lakh respectively.
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