Merely drafting a National Tourism Policy not enough, need a Tourism Council: Parliamentary committee

The committee expressed concern that in projects sanctioned five years ago or before 2017-18, like the ‘Development at Hazratbal’ in Jammu and Kashmir. File.

The committee expressed concern that in projects sanctioned five years ago or before 2017-18, like the ‘Development at Hazratbal’ in Jammu and Kashmir. File.
| Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

Merely drafting a National Tourism Policy is not enough for the development of the tourism sector in the country, a Parliamentary committee has said.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture has suggested fast-tracking the creation of a National Tourism Council on the lines of the GST council to directly make recommendations to the Central and State governments on various issues of the tourism sector and its stakeholders.

Observing that “Vision without action is a daydream, and action without a vision is a nightmare”, the panel sought to know from the government the action taken regarding creation of the Tourism Council after inter-ministerial consultations in this regard.

The committee also sought to know the steps taken by the Tourism Ministry regarding its earlier recommendation of including tourism in the concurrent list.

“The committee is of the view that inclusion of tourism in the concurrent list will help in simplifying the issues of the pandemic-hit Indian tourism sector since tourism is a multi-sectoral activity. The Ministry should inform the committee whether any action has been taken by it on the long-standing recommendation,” the committee said.

It also sought to know why some 20 States were yet to accord industry status to hospitality projects and asked the Ministry whether anything in this regard has been conveyed by these States to the Centre.

As of now eight States—Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand—have accorded industry status to hospitality projects.

The committee also questioned the Centre over releasing a meagre ₹3.88 crore to Kerala for development of spiritual tourism as compared to ₹69.47 crore sanctioned. Two other States, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, have also been given ₹68.24 crore and ₹24 crore against the sanctioned amounts of ₹89.93 crore and ₹47.53 crore, it noted.

It expressed concern that in projects sanctioned five years ago or before 2017-18, like the ‘Development at Hazratbal’ in Jammu and Kashmir and ‘Infrastructure Development at Puri, Shree Jagannath Dham – Ramachandi- Prachi River front at Deuli under Mega Circuit’ in Odisha, the progress rates achieved have been less than expected.

“The committee is of the view that projects taking longer than five years may incur high cost and schedule or time overruns, which will put extra financial burden and resource crunch on the Ministry and implementing agencies involved,” it further said.

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