Four fold Increase in the Allotment for Tourism During 12th Plan
Consultative Committee Attached to Ministry of Tourism meets
The working group of Tourism set up by the planning commission has recommended four fold increase in the allotment of funds for tourism during the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2016). An amount of Rs. 21500 crore may be allotted as against the allocation of Rs. 5156 crore during 11th Plan. This was announced by the Union Minister for Tourism, Shri Subodh Kant Sahai while addressing the meeting of the Consultative Committee of Parliament attached to his Ministry here last evening. Substantial proportion of the estimated outlay is proposed to be allocated for improvement of tourism infrastructure, human resource development, capacity building and promotion and publicity.
Shri Sahai said that Planning Commission has also projected a growth rate of 12% for tourism sector during 12th Plan. He said an increase of at least 1% in country’s share in International tourist arrival by the end of 12th Plan has also been projected. This will require an annual growth of 12.38% during the 12th Plan. The number of foreign tourists arrival and foreign tourists visit by the end of 12th Plan is estimated to be 11.24 million and 35.96 million respectively. The Minister said the number of Domestic Tourists Visits by the end of 12th Plan is projected to be 1451.46 million. He informed the members that Foreign Exchange earnings from tourism is likely to increase from Rs. 64889 crore in 2010 to Rs. 134383 crore by the end of 12th Plan. Additional Foreign Exchange from tourism during 2011-2016 is estimated to Rs. 69494 crore. About the increase in job opportunities the Minister informed the members that the total number of jobs (direct and indirect) in the tourism sector in 2016 is likely to be 77.5 million as compared to 53 million in 2010. Therefore additional employment of 24.5 million will be created during 2010-2016.
Shri Subodh Kant Sahai told the members that currently the taxes levied on tourism sector are very high in some States. He suggested that taxes levied on tourism industry should be unified, rationalised and made globally competitive to get the maximum dividends from tourism sectors. The Minister said that Goods and Services Tax to be implemented in the country should not be more than 8% for tourism sector.
The Union Tourism Minister said that tourism sector is the largest service industry in the country. Its importance lies in being an instrument for economic development and employment generation, particularly in the remote parts of the country. The contribution of tourism in the country’s GDP and total jobs was 5.92% and 9.24% during 2007-08. Total number of tourism jobs in the country during 2007-08 were 49.8 million.
Complementing the Ministry for its role in promoting tourism in the country the members called for more cooperation between the centre and the States. One member suggested that Jammu and Kashmir should be given more priority in tourism development. Another member suggested that development of Buddhist circuits should be completed in a time-bound manner. One member was of the view that development of Buddhist circuits will also enhance India’s image in countries having large Buddhist population. There was also a suggestion for setting up of more convention centres in the country to promote tourism.
The Minister of State for Tourism Shri Sultan Ahmed, Secretary Tourism Shri RH Khwaja and other senior officials of the Ministry of Tourism were also present in the meeting. The Members of Parliament who participated in the meeting include:- Dr. Charles Dias, Shri Jagdambika Pal, Ch. Lal Sing, Shri PT Thomas, Shri Sripad Yesso Naik and Shri Virender Kashyap (Lok Sabha; and Shri Tarini Kanta Roy ( Rajya Sabha) as senior official of the Ministry also attended the meeting.