New Delhi– The tourism sector has got a boost in the Union Budget with 18.42 percent more allocation than the previous year; the ministry has got Rs 2400 crore. The major component of the Budget will go to the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.

Speaking about the budget, Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy said, “I am grateful to PM Sri Narendra Modi ji & FM Nirmala Sitharaman garu for an ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat ka Budget’. As India celebrates 75 years of independence with Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, we are entering Amrit Kaal and this budget presents a blueprint for India at 100. Vikas (Development) and Virasat (Heritage) go hand-in-hand and this is evident from the fact that this year’s budgetary allocations for Tourism and Culture Ministries have been significantly higher.”

Out of the proposed budget allocation of Rs 2400 crore, the major portion of the outlay amounting to Rs 1644 crore is earmarked for development of infrastructure for tourism development and Rs 421.50 crore is meant for promotion and publicity activities.

Out of the Budget allocation provided for major tourism infrastructure schemes, an outlay of Rs 1181.30 crore is earmarked for the “Swadesh Darshan Scheme”, the flagship scheme of the Ministry and another Rs 235 crore is kept for the PRASHAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual and Heritage Augmentation Drive) Scheme. An allocation of Rs 130 crore is set apart for Development of Iconic Sites.

The remaining allocation would be used for funding other schemes like Capacity Building for Service Providers, Champion Service Sector Scheme, Information Technology, etc. and also to meet the establishment expenditure of the Ministry and its subordinate office, the India Tourism Offices in the country and abroad.

This allocation is 18.42% higher than the Budget allocation for the year 2021-22. The allocation of funds for the Tourism Sector in the Budget of 2013-14 was only Rs 1357.30 crores. The current year’s allocation is 76.82% more than the allocation of 2013-14.

Reddy added, “In the Tourism Ministry, budgetary allocation for 2022-2023 stands at Rs 2400 crore and is 18.42% higher than the Budget allocation for the year 2021-22 and 76.82% more than the allocation of 2013-14.”

The Ministry has earmarked Rs 227 crore for the North-Eastern States for the year 2022-23. Another Rs 98 crore is earmarked under the Tribal Sub Plan for creation of tourism infrastructure in the tribal areas. A new scheme named Loan Guarantee Scheme for COVID affected Tourism Service Sector (LGSCATSS) has been started during the current financial year. A guarantee free loan upto Rs 10 lakh each for the Ministry of Tourism approved travel and tourism stakeholders, tour operators, Travel Agents, Tourist Transport Operators, and up to Rs 1 lakh each to RLGs/IITGs approved by MoT, Tourist Guides approved by State Govts/UTs administration is covered under the scheme.

The scheme is to be executed through NCGTC. Around ten Scheduled Commercial Banks have launched the scheme and Cheques/ sanction letters have been distributed to some of the beneficiaries of LGSCATSS An allocation of Rs. 12.50 crore is provided under the Ministry’s Budget for 2022-23 for this purpose. The total allocation proposed under the Scheme for five years is Rs. 62.5 crores. (IANS)