Latest WEF report on tourism competitiveness has placed India much above its earlier position is the result of Acche din: Mahesh Sharma
Minister of State (IC) Tourism and Culture, Dr. Mahesh Sharma, today said his Ministry has already got the report card of one year of work in the form of the latest World Economic Forum (WEF)’s report on tourism competitiveness which has placed India in the 51st position from the earlier 65th position.
“In just one year, India’s position has notched up by 13 positions, which is the result of Acche Din of the NDA Government. This kind of progress from the tourism point of view has happened for the first time after Independence,” the Minister stated at Manthan Aaj Tak here.
Addressing the session Kitne Achche Din? at the day-long event organised in the run up to the completion of the first year of Modi Sarkar, Dr. Sharma counted “small but important measures” like foreign tourists given out welcome card at the Indira Gandhi International Airport going a long way in making “things tourist friendly.”
“Three important things have to be kept in mind as far as tourism is concerned: cleanliness, safety and hospitality. We are working hard to deliver all of these,” he said.
Talking about the feasibility of setting up an international airport at Agra, one of the most important tourist attractions in the country, Sharma categorically termed it not realistic. “We have done a study on it. After the Yamuna Expressway came up, the feasibility of having an airport at Agra has gone down even less. People reach Agra from Delhi in just 3-4 hours now, who would like to waste two hours going to and coming from the airport?” The study also “showed that most foreign tourists prefer to make Delhi a base to go to Agra and Jaipur.”
“For those who want to fly to Agra has an option from Delhi. The flight goes further, to Khajuraho.”
Taking part in the session, Congress leader R P N Singh questioned the BJP slogan Acche Din, particularly from the point of view of farmer’s welfare. “What happened to Narendra Modi’s election promise of raising the Minimum Support Price to farmers by 50 per cent as recommended by the Swaminathan Committee? It is the same government which filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court saying it is not feasible.”
Singh was sarcastic in his remark referring to progress in the tourism sector, saying, “In terms of tourism, the Acche Din for the people has come in the form of photographs sent by the Prime Minister himself from 20 countries. We now know what to do, what to see in these countries.” He mentioned Congress Government’s Incredible India campaign as “very successful “ in bringing tourists to India.
Counting the achievements of one year of the NDA Government in power, Jitendra Singh, the third speaker in the session, said, “The most important thing is the sense of negativity people had during the UPA II government, has converted itself to a sense of pride for the country.” Singh, who also has the charge of DONER Ministry apart from his responsibilities at the PMO, added, “We have started roational camp secretariat in different North east States. For the first time, any central Government has taken such an initiative. I call it DONER at your doorstep.”