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Friday, 05 July, 2019, 12 : 46 PM [IST]

Incredible India to Atulya Bharat!

Are Incredible India and Atulya Bharat two different concepts? It may sound a foolish question for many. But in fact, in the new context, I feel that the question has relevance. There are strong reasons to believe that in the Modi 2.0, Incredible India is taking a back seat and Atulya Bharat is taking the lead. Then, aren’t they one and the same thing. Although they sound so, as literal translations of one another, the Hindi translation has connotations which suit the new Masters. The decision to bifurcate Tourism from the Culture mid-way through Modi 1.0 and bestow the responsibility to push the Incredible India agenda to a liberal ‘non-politician’ was widely welcomed. But by bringing the two together in 2.0 and anointing a ‘hardliner’ Minister from the heartland on top is seen as going back to ‘square one’ for Indian tourism. The grapevine is that the ‘babus’ at the Tourism Ministry are now busy changing the lingo of their old presentations to suit the new shift from Incredible India to Atulya Bharat!

Indian tourism is looking for a strong direction from a strong government. Yes, the Prime Minister has also not lost his faith in the sector, in terms of its ability to generate employment for people. In his maiden speech in the Parliament after taking over the reins for the new term, the Prime Minister mentioned the vast opportunity that tourism holds for presenting the new brand image of India. He believes that the Clean India drive of the government has given a new strength for Incredible India to attract tourists.

Consultations have also started in right earnest at all levels to finalise the agenda for each sector for the first 100 days of the new government as well as for the next five years. It is, of course, a challenging task for an expert to suggest any single decision which can act as a panacea for all ills of Indian tourism. Few permutations and combinations of well thought out measures could only deliver results. Actions in isolation didn’t have desired results in the past and won’t help in future also.

A suggestion of a National Tourism Policy for the country would be infructuous since tourism is a State subject in the country. But, it is time to think of an independent national body detached from the government and comprising experts with advisory and executive powers to decide on the direction of tourism development, marketing and promotions is long due. Only a strong government can take strong decisions!

P Krishna Kumar
Bureau Chief
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