To enhance India’s stature as a tourism and cultural destination, the Union Budget 2020 proposed a slew of measures including the development of iconic tourist sites, setting up new museums and focus on better infrastructure for connectivity.
For this, the Government has allocated ₹2,500 crore for FY 2020-21 to the Ministry of Tourism and ₹3,150 crore to the Ministry of Culture.
Under the Ministry of Culture, the Government has proposed to set up an Indian Institute of Heritage and Conservation which will have deemed University status. It believes this will help in creation of skilled manpower in the fields of museology and archaeology.
Five key archaeological locations in Haryana (Rakhigarh), Uttar Pradesh (Hastinapur), Assam (Shivsagar), Gujarat (Dholavira) and Tamil Nadu (Adichanallur) will be developed as iconic sites with onsite museums. The Government reiterated its commitment for re-curation of the oldest museum in the country -- the Indian Museum in Kolkata. In addition, a museum on numismatics and trade will also be built at the historic old mint building in Kolkata.
A tribal museum in Ranchi at Jharkhand will be set up with the Centre’s support and a maritime museum will be set up at Lothal (the Harrapan age maritime site) near Ahmedabad, by the Ministry of Shipping.
In a bid to create employment in the tourism sector, the Central Grant will also dole out specified grants to the State governments for development of tourism destinations in their respective States. In terms of infrastructure, measures were announced for development of 100 new airports besides running of new Tejas trains to connect tourist destinations.
Rajesh Magow, Co-founder and CEO-India at MakeMyTrip said development of financial roadmaps for new tourist destinations in States beside development of iconic archaeological sites in five locations is a strategic step in boosting both domestic and inbound tourism. He added that the measures to promote India’s rich cultural heritage “will definitely improve the country’s position amongst heritage destinations, globally.”
Indroneel Dutt, CFO, Cleartrip added that these initiatives will help develop India into one of the world’s top tourism hubs. “What would be wonderful is to have an empowered nodal body comprising government, online travel agencies, airlines, hotels and other industry representatives with the objective of promoting discoverability, ease of booking and fulfillment of our cultural, natural and heritage sites.”
However, industry players felt that the government should look into one of the sector’s long pending demand on according infrastructure status to the hotel industry.