Itanagar: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Wednesday distributed Point of Sale (POS) machines to beneficiaries of the ambitious Chief Minister’s Paryatan Vikas Yojana (CMPVY), especially those running homestays in their respective places.
The occasion also marked the launch of POS facilities being offered by the only State-owned State Cooperative Apex Bank Ltd to its customers across the State.
CMPVY is a major flagship programme of the State Government, implemented by the Tourism department through the AP State Cooperative Apex Bank Ltd. So far more than 270 unemployed youths have availed this scheme that provides a subsidy up to Rs 5 lakh to open a restaurant, run a tour operator agency, establish hotels, home stays, purchase adventure equipment, etc.
As majority of the beneficiaries about 100 have availed the scheme to run Home Stays, POS machines were provided to nine such owners and one adventure and sports equipment showroom owner to mark the launch of the facility on Wednesday.
Appreciating Apex Bank for the initiative, Khandu said ease of payment is one of the most sought after facility by tourists coming from far and wide to visit Arunachal Pradesh.
“As tourism is the future of the state, introduction of POS facility in Home Stays is timely. Tourists, especially from outside the country, hardly carry cash on them. Hence, cashless payment at hotels, home stays and for transportation through credit or debit cards is of utmost importance,” Khandu cited.
Giving example of foreign countries where there is no cash transaction for services availed, he said the facility not only serves the purpose of accounting for the service provider but also eases the customer of finding an ATM booth at odd hours and places.
The Chief Minister congratulated the Home Stay owners and advised them to be friendly with their visitors and maintain top-notch hygiene in their properties.
Assuring the government’s hand-holding in growth of their business, he informed that the Taj Group through its sister organization – Ama Trails and Stays – has agreed in principle to help Arunachal Pradesh in establishment and growth of Home Stays.
Khandu said representatives of the Taj Group are expected to visit soon and suggested a meeting with them along with progressive Home Stay owners of the state to chalk out a way forward.
“Since government jobs are limited, not all youths can fit into it. The only option is self-employment and tourism is one of the best choice. In this sector sky is the limit for a state like ours,” he said.
Khandu, meanwhile, urged the Apex Bank to take into its fold various other state government flagship programs for implementation like the CMPVY. He asked the bank authorities to come up with a proposal for the same so that the government could include it in the upcoming state budget.
Suggesting that POS facility be made mandatory for all hotels in the state, he asked the Bank to think and propose a way forward for the same.
Meanwhile, Apex Bank Administrator Habung Lampung informed that the POS facility has been introduced by the bank following requests from Tour Operators and Home Stay owners running their respective businesses by availing the CMPVY scheme through Apex Bank.
To begin with the Bank is providing 43 POS to different customers, which include 20 Home Stays under CMPVY. These are: Tawang: 10; Aalo – 4; Bomdila – 3 and Ziro (3).
In the process, the Bank too would gain by generating revenue through monthly rentals and transaction commissions.
The investment made by the bank in procuring and disbursing POS facility will be recovered in two and half years, Lampung informed.
He further informed that the Bank had deployed Mobile ATM vans and Micro ATM during festivals like Ziro Festival of Music, Tawang Festival, Mandala top Festival and Dambuk Orange Festival, which was well received, especially by tourists. Reportedly, about 400 tourists had availed the facility during these festivals resulting in transaction of about Rs 15 lakh.
Also present on the occasion were Secretary Cooperation Onit Panyang, Secretary Tourism Sadhna Deori, Joint Secretary to CM Kangki Darrang and officers of Apex Bank.