Authored By J P Gupta, New Delhi: Recognizing the potential of rural tourism in the country, the Tourism Ministry has identified Rural Circuit as one of 15 thematic circuits identified for development under Swadesh Darshan scheme.
The Ministry has launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme for Integrated Development of theme-based Tourist Circuits for development of tourism infrastructure across the country. The objectives of the Swadesh Darshan scheme include creating employment through active involvement of local communities and promoting community-based development and pro-poor tourism approach. The Ministry has sanctioned two projects for Bihar and Kerala with a total outlay of Rs.125.02 Crores for development of Rural Circuits under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
The projects which are which are under different stages of implementation included:
Development of “Bhitiharwa – Chandrahia – Turkaulia” in Bihar amounting to Rs.44.65 Crores and Development of Malanad Malabar Cruise Tourism in Kerala amounting to Rs. 80.37 Crores.
The Ministry has also instituted a National Tourism Award in the category of ‘Best Rural/Agri/Plantation Tourism Projects’ to motivate the stakeholders in the tourism sector for implementing such projects.
Ministry of Rural Development has informed that their Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) follows the vision of Development of a cluster of villages that preserve and nurture the essence of rural community life with focus on equity and inclusiveness without compromising with the facilities perceived to be essentially urban in nature, thus creating a cluster of “Rurban Villages”.
Under the Mission, 300 clusters are being developed across 28 States and 8 Union Territories. Tourism is one of the themes of Rurban cluster development.
Tourism related activities/ projects are among the 21 component categories under SPMRM.
Ministry of Rural Development has further informed that a total 67 Rurban clusters have proposed tourism related activities in gram panchayats across 26 States/ UTs. This information was given by the Minister of State of Culture and Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.