India’s rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage provides a huge potential for development of tourism and job creation in the country. There is a great scope and need to develop tourist circuits on specific themes to attract the tourists having special interest in visiting such places.
This can be achieved only through an integrated approach by providing engaging experiences for distinct categories of tourists i.e. Domestic and International. Various themes which are unique and specific to the area can include beaches, culture, heritage, wildlife etc. Such theme based tourist circuits should be developed in a manner that supports communities, provides employment and fosters social integration without comprising upon the environmental concerns and provides unique experiences to the tourists.
In due recognition to this the Government of India, Ministry of Tourism (MoT) launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme (Central Sector Scheme)– for integrated development of theme based tourist circuits in the country in 2014-15.
This scheme is envisioned to synergise with other Government of India schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill India, Make in India etc. with the idea of positioning the tourism sector as a major engine for job creation, driving force for economic growth, building synergy with various sectors to enable tourism to realise its potential.
OBJECTIVES OF THE SCHEME
To 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;
Enhancing 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;
Creating 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.
To create employment through active involvement of local communities
Harness tourism potential for its effects in employment generation and economic development.
To 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.
Development of tourist facilitation services to enhance visitor
WHAT IS A TOURIST CIRCUIT ?
Tourist Circuit is defined as a route having at least three major tourist destinations which are distinct and apart.
Circuits should have well defined entry and exit points. A tourist who enters should get motivated to visit most of the places identified in the circuit.
A Circuit could be confined to a State or could be a regional circuit covering more than one State/Union Territory. These circuits may have one dominant theme and other sub-themes.
Projects under the scheme shall be under the following identified themes; Ecotourism, Wildlife, Buddhist, Desert, Spiritual, Ramayana, Krishna, Coastal, Northeast, Rural, Himalayan, Tribal and Heritage.
Fifteen thematic circuits have been identified for development under the Swadesh Darshan scheme-
1 . The Himalayan Circuit
2 . The Coastal Circuit
3 . The North-East India Circuit
4 . The Buddhist Circuit
5 . The Desert Circuit
6 . The Krishna Circuit
7 . The Tribal Circuit
8 . The Ramayana Circuit
9 . The Spiritual Circuit
10 . The Eco Circuit
11 . The Heritage Circuit
12 . The Wildlife Circuit
13 . The Rural Circuit
14 . The Sufi Circuit
15 . The Tirthankar Circuit
The Scheme is 100% centrally funded and efforts are made to achieve convergence with other schemes of Central and State Governments and also to leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and Corporate Sector.
DURATION OF THE SCHEME
At present the duration of Swadesh Darshan Scheme is till the 14th Finance Commission Period i.e. March 2020.