Guwahati, Sep 13: Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy on Monday said that the ministry has sanctioned 16 projects in the north eastern region under Swadesh Darshan Scheme, which focuses on integrated development of theme based tourist circuits.
The tourism ministry is giving special emphasis on developing infrastructure, on ground capacity and skills in the north east region, along with branding and marketing assistance to the states in the region through its various schemes and flagship initiatives, Reddy said in his inaugural address of the two-day Conference of Tourism and Culture Ministers of North Eastern states here.
Under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme, the ministry has sanctioned a number of projects in the region with approximately Rs 200 crore sanctioned for them, he said.
"Tourism can be a game changer that can bring socio-economic change in the nation, especially in the north east", the union minister added.
Reddy said that under the DoNER ministry, the budget allocation for 2021-22 for the NE states is Rs 68,020 crore and urged their governments to submit viable proposals so that the full amount allocated across various ministries can be successfully utilized.
Union Minister of State for Culture, Arjun Ram Meghwal said that tourism development is the core area and the NE has the potential for the area's development.
The states in the region have their own identity and each state has unique features and potential which must be brought to the fore for the promotion of tourism, he said.
Asserting that the infrastructural development in the north east will enhance tourism development, Meghwal said that the development in the sector will help the other allied sectors to develop and will help the nation to grow.
Union Minister of State for Tourism and Defence Ajay Bhatt said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership the country is seeing development in every sector and he has asserted time and again that the overall development of the country is not possible without that of the north east region.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that a holistic approach is required for the development of the tourism sector in the region and the entire NE region as a brand has to be promoted while connectivity and infrastructure facilities need to be developed.
The two-day conference is being held under the chairmanship of the tourism, culture and DONER ministries to discuss development of tourism and issues related to connectivity in the NE.
An MoU was signed between the Tourism ministry and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) for cooperation in promoting domestic tourism and development of new tourism products.
Senior officers from various central ministries, state governments in the region as well as industry representatives participated in the conference.