About Swadesh Darshan
- The Swadesh Darshan Scheme was launched by the Centre in 2014-15 for the integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits.
- Under the scheme, the Ministry of Tourism provides financial assistance to State governments, Union Territory Administrations or Central Agencies for development of tourism infrastructure in the country.
- The Swadesh Darshan scheme is 100% centrally funded.
- Objective: To develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.
- It is a Central Sector Scheme and efforts are made to achieve convergence with other schemes of Central and State Governments and also to leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and Corporate Sector.
- The scheme was envisioned to synergise with other government schemes such as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, and Make in India with the idea of positioning the tourism sector as a major engine for job creation, driving force for economic growth, building synergy with various sectors to enable tourism to realise its potential.
- Some of the prominent circuits launched under this were the Buddhist tourist circle, Ambedkar Tourist Circle and the North-East Tourist Circle.
What’s in News
- Prayagraj, Chitrakoot, and Gwalior are among the cities identified in 15 States across the country to be promoted as part of India’s new domestic tourism policy which moves away from theme-based tourist circuits and focuses on revving up destination tourism.
- The initiative is being taken as part of the first phase of the ‘Swadesh Darshan 2
- The government recently revamped the scheme as Swadesh Darshan 2.0 (SD2.0) to develop sustainable and responsible destinations with a tourist and destination centric approach.
- Some of the prominent places identified are Jhansi and Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh, Gwalior, Chitrakoot and Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh and Ajanta and Ellora in Maharashtra.
Swadesh Darshan 2.0
- The revamped scheme would be launched which seeks to enhance the contribution of tourism to local economies.
- The aim is to create jobs including self-employment for local communities, to enhance the skills of local youth in tourism and hospitality, to increase private sector investment in tourism and hospitality and to preserve and enhance local cultural and natural resources
Why was the revamp made?
- Part 1 of Swadesh Darshan I had faced some criticism mainly pertaining to resources being spread thin due to the many destinations being covered and too many stakeholders being involved.
- The Ministry of Tourism has also launched the PRASHAD scheme which focuses on developing and identifying pilgrimage sites across India for enriching the religious tourism experience.
- The Ministry also launched the “Adopt a Heritage Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan” project which aims at ensuring quality & inclusive provision of amenities and facilities across heritage, natural, & tourist sites through active participation of private and public sector organizations and individuals. These organizations would be known as “Monument Mitras” for their collaboration initiative.
- The Ministry of Tourism has formulated a National Strategy and Roadmap for Development of Rural Tourism in the Country. The Strategy suggests identifying clusters of villages having high potential for tourism development in different parts of the country. The themes for rural tourism can include local crafts and cuisines, folk music, shows, dramas, agritourism, organic farming, yoga and meditation centres, lakes, etc.
Importance of Tourism
- In addition to the economic benefits, tourism has promoted cultural interaction between Indian citizens and people of other countries and fostered regional cooperation. The sector has also played a pivotal role in enhancing India’s soft power.
- The tourism sector contributes immensely to foreign exchange reserves in the country and provides employment opportunities, both in the formal and informal sectors. The sector now contributes 4.7 percent to GDP, 7.3 percent to total employment, and 2.5 percent to total exports.
- According to the third Tourism Satellite Account for 2017-18, 2018-19, and 2019-20, the contribution of tourism to the employment of the country is 14.78%, 14.87 % and 15.34 % respectively.
- The total jobs generated by tourism are 72.69 million (2017-18), 75.85 million (2018-19) and 79.86 million (2019-20).
- The fact that the Services sector contributes 55 percent to the Indian economy, makes the tourism industry even more crucial for the country’s overall economic growth.
- Despite having a diverse culture and rich architectural heritage, India holds only a 1.2 percent share of the international tourism market.
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