The government has approved projects worth about Rs 450 crore under Swadesh Darshan scheme for five states, including Uttar Pradesh. This scheme was launched with an objective to develop 13 theme-based tourist circuits in the country and the approval for five was given in a meeting of the central sanctioning and monitoring committee (CSMC).
About Swadesh Darshan:
- The Ministry of Tourism (MoT), Government of India has formulated a plan scheme Swadesh Darshan for integrated development of tourist circuits around specific themes. The five circuits identified under this Scheme are Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit and North-East Circuit.
- These circuits/destinations cover major and relevant tourist places and attractions and have a mix of culture, heritage, spiritualism, and Ecotourism to give a holistic perspective of the country.
- Tourism contributes foreign exchange in a big way to the exchequer of India and it contributes 6.8 percent of the GDP share in India.
About Tourist Circuit:
- A Tourist Circuit is defined as a route on which at least three major tourist destinations are located such that none of these are in the same town, village or city. At the same time, it would be ensured that they are not separated by a long distance. It should have well defined entry and exit points. A tourist who enters should get motivated to visit all the places identified in the circuit.
- Theme based tourist circuit is a tourist circuit around specific themes, such as religion, culture, ethnicity, niche, etc. It can be confined to a state or could be a regional circuit covering more than a State/Union territory.
- Integrated development of Infrastructure in identified theme based circuits.
- Provide complete tourism experience with varied thematic circuits.
- Follow community-based development and pro-poor tourism approach.
- Creating awareness among the local communities about the importance of tourism for them in terms of increase in sources of income, improved living standards and overall development of the area.
- Promote local arts, culture, handicrafts, cuisine, etc to generate livelihoods in the identified regions.
- Harness tourism potential for its direct and multiplier effects in employment generation and economic development.
- The scheme is 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.
- To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
- Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
- A National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
- A Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.
- PMC will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.
- Ramayana circuit in Uttar Pradesh with a project cost of Rs 70 crore was approved, while heritage circuits in Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand with costs of Rs 100 crore and Rs 83 crore, respectively.
- Coastal circuit in Tamil Nadu with a cost of about Rs 100 crore and envisages development of Chennai-Mamamallapuram- Rameshwaram-Manpadu-Kanyakumari.
- The heritage circuit in Madhya Pradesh, which covers Gwalior-Orchha-Khajuraho-Chanderi-Bhimbetka-Mandu with a total project cost of about Rs 100 crore, envisages infrastructural development of the sites.
- The Heritage circuit in Uttarakhand is for development of infrastructure in Jageshwar-Devidhura-Katarmal- Baijnath sites with a total project cost of about Rs 83 crore.
- The Ramayana circuit in Uttar Pradesh envisages development of two destinations —Chitrakoot and Shringverpur. It also includes Ayodhya, for which UP Tourism Department is preparing a detailed project report.