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Ministries of Tourism and Culture meet the 15th Finance Commission Stress on Tourism and Culture as vehicles of employment generation, income growth and national integration & international relations. States to be incentivised by XVFC for promotion of Toursim and Culture - New Delhi, Dated: 27th August, 2019
The Minister for Tourism and Culture, Shri Prahlad Singh Patel and senior officials from both the Ministries today called on the 15th Finance Commission headed by Chairman, Shri N.K. Singh to put forth the financial projections of the Ministries on various schemes and projects and also suggest measures for incentivizing States by the Finance Commission in its rewards, for the promotion of tourism and culture. The Chairman, Shri N. K. Singh observed that the Tourism and Culture sectors are very important for the Finance Commission as they were engines of employment generation, income growth, integral part of integration of the nation and for building international relations. He says that the Commission was aware of the typical problems of the sectors most of which were legacy issues. The Chairman was of the view that major changes were required in the ASI Act 1958, which was dated and not suited for current times. He suggested that private sector participation should be encouraged for the up-keep of protected monuments and should be enacted to aggressively market the monuments amongst international and domestic tourists. The meeting discussed the Prime Minister’s stress on domestic tourism and Chairman was of the view that sending school students to the different parts of the country should be made mandatory on the part of the school - by making it a part of the school syllabus. He recalled that he had already raised this issue with the Union HRD Minister, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal. The meeting discussed the problems facing the hotel industry and the lack of connectivity infrastructure which was hampering the growth of tourism across the country. The Commission was informed by the Tourism Ministry that – § Niche Products have been identified by the Ministry of Tourism for development and promotion: i. Cruise ii. Adventure iii. Medical (also called medical travel, health tourism or global healthcare) iv. Wellness (Indian system of medicine covered by Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) v. Golf vi. Polo vii. Meetings Incentives Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) viii. Eco-tourism ix. Film Tourism x. Sustainable Tourism § Human Resource Management and Broad-basing of the Hospitality Education followed by Capacity Building for Service Providers leading to easy access to tourism destinations in terms of international transport and facilities are the major areas of concern for the Ministry. § MoT to work towards augmenting tourism infrastructure, easing of visa regime, assurance of quality standards in services of tourism service providers, projecting the country as a 365 days’ tourist destination, promoting tourism in a sustainable manner § MoT to accord priority for holistic development of tourism destinations into world class destination using a cluster approach including development of infrastructure, amenities, interpretation centres and skill development by achieving synergy and convergence with other Central Ministries, State Governments and Industry Stakeholders § Major schemes of the Ministry of Tourism for achieving its objectives: a) Integrated Development of Tourist Circuits around Specific Themes – Swadesh Darshan b) National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) c) Assistance to Central Agencies for Tourism Infrastructure Development d) Domestic Promotion & Publicity including Hospitality (DPPH) e) Overseas Promotion & Publicity Including Marketing Development Assistance (MDA). f) Assistance to IHMs/FCIs etc., g) Capacity Building for Service Providers (CBSP). § The Ministry of Tourism observed that State Governments need to be incentivised for contributing to infrastructure development of Tourism destinations by providing land, taking up development of lesser known tourism destinations, provision of wayside amenities and capacity building of hospitality industry. § The Ministry has suggested that the performance of the States in tourism sector can be looked into from Foreign Exchange Earnings and Foreign Tourist Visits perspective. However, Foreign Exchange Earnings are compiled by RBI at National Level and hence, it is not possible to get segregated figures for States and the same may therefore, not be suitable for the purpose. § Ministry of Tourism has a mechanism to capture the Foreign Tourist Visits to different States which can be used to assess the performance of States in the tourism sector. The claims of the States regarding Foreign Tourist Visits could be crosschecked by undertaking sample surveys for providing performance based incentives to States. § Further, the Ministry of Tourism has requested that the performance of States could be assessed through a broader framework beyond export effort by using key parameters such as: a) State expenditure on Tourism b) Tourists visits c) Presence of classified Hotel Rooms d) Effectiveness of marketing campaign e) Ease of Doing Business f) Classified hotel rooms g) Policy guidelines and incentives h) Tourist Feedback § The projection of expenditure by the Ministry of Tourism for the year 2020-25 are as follows: Year Rs. in crore 2020-21 3740.33 2021-22 4987.24 2022-23 4920.10 2023-24 4484.33 2024-25 3904.03 Total 22036.03 The Commission was informed by the Culture Ministry that – § A Strategic Shift was envisaged in the culture sector. The programmes must be integrated into strategies for sustainable development at every level and take into account the needs and aspirations of the community where cultural assets are found. Sustainable heritage conservation depends upon the commitment and involvement of local communities. Conservation policies, to be successful, need to promote local community stewardship of the heritage as well as provide socio-economic benefits for local communities. Therefore, a direct link must be made between safeguarding the heritage and socio-economic development. This calls for the deliberate recasting of heritage conservation as a development activity that brings economic opportunities, creates jobs, and generates income based on traditional technologies and knowhow. § While ongoing professional and institutional efforts at heritage conservation would be strengthened, participatory approach would be used to catalyse engagement of local community and various interest groups. § The programme assistance should be provided in the form of practical, technical, and small “start-up” grants to the local communities and NGOs. At least some p[art of the annual plan outlay for culture should be used for these “local” grants. The Ministry of Culture was of the view that: § The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) needs to be strengthened for proper conservation, preservation and maintenance of the build heritage of the country. For this, it would be necessary to prepare a comprehensive coordinated plan for conservation and development of monuments and archaeological sites by the Central and State governments and academic and research institutions. UNESCO Category-2 Regional Centres would be established. § Efforts would be stepped up for conservation of unprotected heritage buildings, monuments, archaeological sites, and historic buildings. Fellowships for visiting scholars would be instituted. Cultural Heritage Management Council would be created. And, finally, mapping of cultural heritage resources would be taken up. Schools would be engaged in mapping of local history, ecology and cultural heritage of the area where they are located. § A large number of Science museums in partnership with the Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of HRD also be established. These could have three parts-pedagogy centre for school/college teachers, science activity centre for students, and science Exploratorium for general public. § A mechanism should be established to enable ASI to provide financial assistance to projects proposed by the scientific organisations of State Governments, departments of anthropology in universities, NGOs involved in anthropological studies and similar bodies. Further, assistance to State Governments, institutions and organisations should also be provided for documentation and dissemination of research results in the field of anthropology. § It will also develop its own repertoire and be a vibrant cultural hub. This would require about 15-20 acre land in Central Delhi. § Similar centres may also be set-up in Kolkata, Chennai and other major cities in due course. In Kolkata, the area encompassing Rabindra Sadan Cultural Complex and Central Cultural Institute has a potential to be developed into such a Centre. New and innovative institutional arrangements and partnerships may be needed to create and manage such integrated complexes. § India should explore the possibility of having a permanent presence at the prestigious Venice Biennale of Art. The space could be used not only for the Art Biennale but also for the equally prestigious Venice Biennale of Architecture and in the lean months for any other cultural activities. The Ministry projected that : § Central Government needs to partner with the State Governments in making the State Academies play an important role in preserving and promoting performing, visual and literary arts of each state. § In order to leverage professional expertise and capacity from outside in specific disciplines, Government could enter into partnership with selected universities, institutions of national importance, research institutions and cultural organisations to undertake a mutually agreed programme and function as Centre of Excellence in the specified fields. While autonomy of these organisations will be respected, deliverables will be closely monitored. § Several steps like electronic payments, online applications and minutes of expert committees available online have been introduced to bring about transparency. § Capacity-building and training of personnel to work in various Cultural Organisations is a critical requirement. Presently, some training is being imparted, but in a limited and distributed manner with various institutes under the aegis of the Government. Coordination and expansion of training research should be undertaken through an apex institutional mechanism or a Central Cultural University for the purpose. Summing up the meeting, the Chairman asked the two Ministries to give all necessary details to the Finance Commission which would help it make important recommendations on:- · Incentivising States by giving sector specific grants for Tourism & Culture. · Award States for meeting specific requests for Culture and Tourism. · Key factors of a new ASI Act – which would bring into focus the by recommendations for highlighting India’s cultural heritage.