Will the Govt plan to boost tourism work?


Tourists enjoy Shikara ride at Dal Lake, in Srinagar on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)

Jammu & Kashmir and Goa welcome the move; Haryana working on the Krishna Circuit

Our Bureau
New Delhi  

The Centre on Monday announced Credit Guarantee Scheme to facilitate new lending among the smallest borrowers and stated that this includes the ‘stressed borrowers’. While addressing a press conference here on Monday, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Under the Credit Guarantee Scheme we aim to reach out to 25 lakh people who are absolutely small borrowers. Loan to be given to the smallest borrowers by Microfinance Institutions. A maximum Rs 1.25 lakhs amount to be lent.”

“The interest rate under the new Credit Guarantee Scheme is 2 per cent below RBI prescribed rate, with a loan duration of 3 years,” the Union Finance Minister stated.

“The focus will be on new lending and not on repayment of the old loans. Stressed borrowers except NPAs to be covered under the new Scheme,” she said.

During the press conference, a Rs 1.1 lakh crore loan guarantee scheme for COVID-affected sectors was also announced. Of this, Rs 50,000 crore has been allocated to the health sector and Rs 60,000 crore for other sectors.

Sitharaman said, “We are announcing about eight economic relief measures, of which four are absolutely new and one is specific to health infrastructure. For COVID-affected areas, Rs 1.1 lakh crores credit guarantee scheme and Rs 50,000 crores for health sector.”

People associated with the tourism industry have welcomed finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s loan package for travel agencies and tourist guides which is likely to revive the industry.

Rajesh Gupta, chairperson of Tourism Federation in Jammu and Kashmir, told ANI, “We welcome post COVID lockdown schemes by the Centre to boost the tourism industry. The humanitarian move by the Centre will provide financial support to more than 11,000 registered tourists, guides, travel and tourism stakeholders. We just have to monitor that the benefits provided by this scheme reach the grassroot level.”

“The schemes in the tourism sector will encourage foreign tourists as well. As per the Centre, once the visa issuance is restarted, the first 5 lakh foreign tourists visas will be issued free of charge. It is a great goodwill gesture. We hope to see more foreign tourists in the near future. We hope the beneficiaries will avail the benefits,” Gupta said.

Deepanka Sengupta, an economist by profession in Srinagar said, “During the COVID-19 lockdown, the tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir was hit badly. Here, I believe that the tourism sector is the largest ’employment’ sector. Hence, many people faced job losses. But with these packages by the Centre, it will easier for tourist guides to take loans. It will also enhance the liquidity in the market. With these announcements by the Finance Ministry, the tourism sector will get the much-needed relief.”

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday welcomed the decision of Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to provide a financial package to revive the tourism sector which has been hit hard due to COVID-19.

Sawant welcomed the announcement claiming that it will help in boosting tourism in the state. “I am yet to go through the details of the decision. Once I go through it, I will react in detail,” he told ANI at BJP headquarters in Panaji.

Also, Narendra K. Sawaikar, Goa’s Commissioner for NRI affairs told ANI that the decision will help to revive the tourism sector in the state. State BJP President Sadanand Shet Tanavade said that post-Covid such a stimulus was required for the tourism sector, which has been severely affected due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (Independent Charge) Prahlad Singh Patel on Tuesday said Haryana Government has completed the first phase of the Krishna circuit project and is working on the second one.

Patel met Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar in Delhi to discuss development schemes related to spiritual tourism in Haryana. Speaking after the meeting, he informed that Khattar also presented a plan of building a virtual museum based on religious scriptures in Jyotisar, a pilgrimage site near Kurukshetra.

“Haryana Government has completed the first plan Krishna circuit and is working on Krishna circuit plan two. He (Khattar) has a plan of building a virtual museum based on Gita and Mahabharat in Jyotisar, which is so big. We also discussed making a science city in Haryana,” the Minister said.

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