Context: The Ministry of Tourism, under the Swadesh Darshan scheme is developing thematic circuits in the country in planned and prioritized manner. 


Under the scheme fifteen thematic circuits have been identified for development. These includes: North-East Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Heritage Circuit, Sufi Circuit and Tirthankara Circuit. The projects under the scheme are identified for development in consultation with the State Governments/Union Territory Administrations and are sanctioned subject to the following conditions: (i) Availability of funds;  (ii) Submission of suitable Detailed Project Reports;  (iii) Adherence to scheme guidelines;  (iv) Utilization of funds released earlier. What are the various steps taken by the Ministry of Tourism for development of tourism in the country?

  • Launched the Swadesh Darshan and PRASHAD Schemes for development of tourism infrastructure in the country.
  • Identified 17 Iconic Sites in the country for development by seeking convergence with other Central Ministries/Departments/State Governments /Urban Local Bodies.
  • Launched the “Adopt a Heritage-Apni Dharohar Apni Pehchan” Project for development and maintenance of tourist amenities at heritage sites/monuments and other tourist sites.
  • Development and promotion of ‘Niche Tourism’ products to attract tourist with specific interest and to ensure repeat visits for the unique products in which India has a comparative advantage.
  • Launched 24×7 toll free Multi-Lingual Tourist Helpline.
  • Incredible India 2.0 Campaign: Promoted India as a holistic tourism destination including its various tourism sites and products. 
  • Facility of e-Visa for 5 sub-categories i.e. e-Tourist visae-Business visa, e-Medical visa, e-Medical Attendant visa and e-Conference visa for nationals of 170 countries. E-Visa has been further liberalized and the visa fee has been substantially reduced.
  • Launched Incredible India Tourist Facilitator Programme on an online digital platform to provide basic, advanced and refresher courses for tourist facilitators.
  • New mountain peaks have been opened for Mountaineering/Trekking to give boost to adventure tourism in the country.
  • Lowering of GST on hotels rooms with tariffs of Rs 1,001 to Rs 7,500/night to 12% and for Rs 7,501 & above to 18% to increase India’s competitiveness as a tourism destination.

About Swadesh Darshan Scheme The Scheme has been launched by the Tourism Ministry to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country. These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner. Key features of Swadesh Darshan Scheme includes:

  • 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.
  • To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
  • Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant) which will be a national level consultant to be appointed by the Mission Directorate.
  • National Steering Committee (NSC) will be constituted with Minister in charge of M/O Tourism as Chairman, to steer the mission objectives and vision of the scheme.
  • Mission Directorate headed by the Member Secretary, NSC as a nodal officer who will help in identification of projects in consultation with the States/ UTs governments and other stake holders.

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