In a bid to develop tourism structure in the country, the Ministry of Tourism launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme January 2015.
Notably, during the budget speech of 2014-15, the Finance Minister had made the following announcement such as "India's rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage provides a huge potential for the development of tourism and job creation as an Industry.
Following this, the minister proposed to create 5 tourist circuits around specific themes and also set aside a sum of Rs 500 crore for this purpose.
The scheme is integrated Development of theme based tourist circuits and it was launched with following five circuits named Himalayan Circuit, North East Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Buddhist Circuit and Coastal Circuit.
However, later in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the government added 10 more thematic circuits in the scheme namely Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Heritage Circuit, Tirthankar Circuit and Sufi Circuit making it to 15 thematic circuits.
The Expenditure Finance Committe (EFC) had recomended an outlay of Rs 5048 crore for the scheme from 2017-18 till 2019-20 including budgetary allocation of Rs. 3848 crore for completion of ongoing projects and Rs. 1200 crore for new projects.
EFC has recommended that sanctions for new projects in the period 2017-2020 shall be restricted to Rs. 2500 crore.
Objectives of the Scheme
Position tourism as a major engine of economic growth and job creation;
Develop circuits having tourist potential in a planned and prioritized manner;
Promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions;
Enhance the tourist attractiveness in a sustainable manner by developing world class infrastructure in the circuit/destinations;
Follow community based development and pro-poor tourism approach;
Create awareness among the local communities about the importance of tourism for them in terms of increased sources of income, improved living standards and overall development of the area.
Create employment through active involvement of local communities;
Harness tourism potential for its effects in employment generation and economic development.
Make full use of the potential and advantages in terms of available infrastructure, national culture and characteristic strong points of each and every region throughout the country by development of theme based circuits.
Works Being Carried Out By Government Under The Scheme
Under the scheme, the Ministry of Tourism is developing tourism infrastructure in the country in a sustainable and inclusive manner to make India into a world class tourist destination. On the other hand, the ministry also focusing to develop public facilities like last mile connectivity, Tourist reception Centers, Way side Amenities, Solid Waste Management, Illumination, Landscaping, parking etc. where Private Sector is not willing to invest.