• Shri. K.J. Alphons, Union Minister for Tourism will be inaugurating the project “Development of North East Circuit: Rangpo– Rorathang- Aritar- Phadamchen- Nathang-Sherathang- Tsongmo- Gangtok-Phodong- Mangan- Lachung-Yumthang- Lachen- Thangu-Gurudongmer- Mangan- Gangtok-Tuminlingee- Singtam” implemented under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India in the presence of Shri Ugen T. Gyatso, Minister of Tourism & Civil Aviation, Government of Sikkim in Zero Point, Gangtok on 30th January 2019.
• This project was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in June 2015 for Rs. 98.05 Crores.
• The development of Tourism in North Eastern Region being prime area of focus for the Ministry of Tourism, several initiatives for growth of domestic and international tourism in the region has been taken by the Ministry.
• One of the many challenges region faces in development of tourism is the absence of quality infrastructure, services and awareness about the array of tourism products region has to offer.
• The Ministry is carrying out number of activities to handle the issues on above fronts.
• On one hand the Ministry has given great impetus to the tourism infrastructure in the region under its flagship schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD.
• For development of Tourism infrastructure, the Ministry has sanctioned 16 projects for Rs. 1349.04 crores covering all North Eastern States under its schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD.
• The Ministry is actively working with other Central Ministries like Mo/Culture, M/o DONER, M/o Road Transport and Highways, M /o Civil Aviation etc. for development of Tourism in the region.
About Swadesh Darshan scheme
• Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship scheme of Ministry of tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner.
• Under this scheme the Government is focussing on development of quality infrastructure in the country with objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors on one hand and on other hand fostering the economic growth.
• The scheme was launched in 2014-15 and as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 77 projects worth projects for Rs. 6121.69 Crore to 30 States and UTs.
• 30 projects and major components of these projects are expected to be completed this year. 11 projects have been inaugurated as on date under the scheme.
• The Ministry of Tourism has also set up Hotel Managements and Food Craft Institutes for creating skilled manpower in tourism and hospitality sector in the North Eastern Region.
• The efforts of Ministry have shown positive results and the Foreign tourist arrivals in the region has shown an upward trend over the years.
• The region received a total of 1.69 lakh foreign tourist visits during 2017 as against 1.45 lakh in 2016 registering a growth of 16.7% over 2016.
• The Domestic Tourist Visits reached to 95.47 lakhs in the year 2017 against 77.71 lakhs registering impressive double digit growth of 22.8% over 2016.
• The increased number of tourists in turn has created better employment opportunity for the local population in the region.
Mains Paper 2: Governance
Prelims level: Swadesh Darshan scheme