According to an ANI report, centuries of pollution is slowly turning the Taj Mahal yellow, in spite of continuous
government efforts to save the historic monument in Agra, Uttar Pradesh, officials of the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) have said. The primary sources of pollution are a cemetery near the monument and sewer lines surrounding the Taj, officials
Dust particles and carbon gases emanating from the burning of biomass at the cemetery every day, combined with poisonous gases arising from the nearby sewer and the polluted river Yamuna, settle on the white marble of the Taj Mahal, causing it to
“You might have seen the polluted environment on both sides of the Taj Mahal. The methane gases that emanate from these places are such that you cannot stand near them. It is a different matter that our officials have repeatedly spent millions
of rupees to try to clean the Taj and its environment. But if you see the condition now, poisonous gases arising from the sewer and the polluted river Yamuna continue to affect the monument,” said D K Joshi, Member of the Supreme Court Committee
to monitor environmental threats to Taj Mahal.
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The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has given its approval to enter into an agreement between India and China for strengthening cooperation in the field of tourism. The agreement, which will help both countries in creating an institutional mechanism for enhancing cooperation in the tourism sector, will be signed during the visit of the Prime Minister to China that begins today, as per a PIB release.
The main objectives of this agreement, among others, are to expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector; to exchange information and data related to tourism; to encourage cooperation between tourism stakeholders including hotels and tour operators; to establish exchange programmes for cooperation in Human Resource Development; to invest in the tourism and hospitality sectors; to participate in travel fairs/exhibitions in each other’s country; to promote safe, honourable, and sustainable tourism.
According to a report by Divya Chandrababu in The Times of India, the Centre would focus on developing Puducherry and Kancheepuram in South India, as major tourist destinations, said Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Culture & Tourism and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, yesterday. He was inaugurating a Rs 5.5-crore science centre and planetarium in Puducherry. “After my visit to Puducherry, I feel that there is a lot of potential because it has got its spiritualism, scenic views of the beach, and now we have come up with a science museum,” he stated.
Later, during his visit to Kalakshetra Foundation in Chennai, the Minister said, “We have proposed to make it a destination on the international map along with the North East. And, this time the government has come up with a coastal circuit with an investment of Rs 120 crore and Puducherry will be part of that.”
Dr Sharma said Kancheepuram was one of the highlights of the National Tourism Policy, which would be ready in another 15 days. The temple town is one of 12 cities on the first list prepared under the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) scheme to promote tourism across the country.
“Spiritual Tourism is the strength of tourism, even worldwide, and more so in India. We are utilising that strength,” Dr Sharma said. “We propose to promote tourism as a means of employment, foreign revenue, for women empowerment, and take it to new heights where we are sharing one per cent of the world’s tourism market. By 2025, we can make this two per cent,” he added.
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The Indian government is extending its e-Tourist Visa facility to 31 more countries from May 1, 2015. The new countries included in eTV scheme are Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Cayman Island, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominic an Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, France, Georgia, Grenada, Haiti, HolySee (Vatican), Honduras, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Paraguay, St.Kitts & Nevis and Seychelles.
With the above addition, the total number of countries under the scheme will go upto 76. The scheme will be extended to more countries in a phased manner. The Government plans to extend the scheme to 150 countries by the end of this financial year.
Buoyed by visa reforms the Indian tourism industry will grow by 7.5% in 2015, according to World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). In 2014, the industry contributed Rs 764,200 crore and 36.7 million jobs to the Indian economy. Research released by World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts that the industry’s GDP contribution will grow by 7.5% and employment by 1.8% this year. “This demonstrates the sector’s enduring ability to generate economic growth and create jobs at a faster rate than the national economy, which is due to grow by 6.7% in 2015,” the report says. By the end of 2015, the travel & tourism sector will contribute Rs 821,500 crore, 7% of India’s GDP, and 37.4 million jobs, almost 9% of total employment, once all direct, indirect and induced impacts are taken into account.
“The strong increase in the size of the travel and tourism industry in India is fueled by visa reforms introduced in November 2014, which expanded the visa-on-arrival (VOA) scheme to 43 nationalities. Visitors from those countries no longer have to queue up at local consulates but can instead apply for visas online,” the report reveals. WTTC president and CEO David Scowsill says, “India is one of the biggest travel and tourism economies in the world contributing significantly to economic wealth and job creation. Much needed reforms to its visas rules will provide the foundation for very strong growth in the sector during 2015.”
The Union Tourism Ministry is trying to fulfill all requirements to facilitate the Nabakalebar Rath Yatra, 2015 and fully promote the event including meeting the demand of Rs 52 crore for development of tourist infrastructure in Puri and other places connected with the Yatra.
This information was given by the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma in reply to a question in Lok Sabha.
Replying to a supplementary, Dr Sharma said that he would be visiting Odisha on March 20 and 21 to assess the infrastructure requirements. He added that the holy city of Puri is included in the new scheme of the Ministry ‘PRASAD’ in which 12 religious and holy cities have been included for development.
Similarly, in the scheme of theme based tourist circuits ‘Swadesh Darshan’, the coastal circuit will benefit the coast of Orissa. The Budget for 2015-16 has made a special provision for developing Buddhist circuits and the sites located in Odisha can also be included in the same, the Minister explained in reply to a supplementary.
The Government of India is all geared up to boost tourism and keeping that in mind there will be some attractive inclusions in the 2015-16 for the public sector employees. The LTA and LTC will now include hotel expenses with travel and provide tax benefits for employees.
The Leave Travel Concession (LTC)/ Leave Travel Allowance (LTA) used to be provided with two in a block of four years.
The LTA and LTC will cover economy class air fare or AC 1 class rail fare. The announcement is supposed to come up in the Budget presentation.
The government is creating every opportunity to promote tourism in different regions and generate jobs.