Presenting the Union Budget of India for 2017-18,
Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley has proposed setting up of Five Special
Tourism Zones (STZs) to boost private investment in the tourism sector
in the country. The Finance Minister also proposed Special Purpose
Vehicle (SPV) with funding from both the government and the private
sector to trigger investment into the STZs.
Saying that Tourism sector is a major employment generator with
multiplier effect, the Finance Minister also mentioned that next level
of Incredible India brand marketing campaign, Incredible India 2.0, will
be unleashed in the international market. Two new AIIMS have been
announced in Jharkhand and Gujarat which will inturn boost medical
tourism too. Head Post Office to address all passport related grievances
The Ministry of Railways will launch Tourism and Pilgrim
specific trains. Jaitley highlighted that 3500 kms of railway track will
be commissioned in 2017-18. Rs 2000 Cr were also announced for coastal
road connectivity - essentially to enhance connectivity to ports and
As part of cleaning up the railway system, all railway coaches
will be fitted with bio-toilets by 2019. Jaitley also proposed to a
scheme to energise 7,000 railway stations with solar power.
order to help passengers to raise complaints about rail coaches, Jaitley
also proposed a digital platform ‘Coach Mitra’. Also, 500 railway
stations will be made barrier-free.
In order to encourage online railway ticket booking, Finance Minister
proposed to withdraw Service Tax for booking tickets through IRCTC
platform and develop a competitive reservation system for end passengers
at large. He also stated that cashless rail reservations are up by 10%
to 68% post demonetisation.
The Finance Minister proposed to
synergise investments in the Transport sector comprising Civil Aviation,
Railways, Road Transport and Waterways. In order to improve the
passenger safety in Railways, the Finance Minister proposed a Railway
Safety Fund with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore over the next five years.
This will be raised with a seed by the government and other sources by
In the Civil Aviation, the Finance Minister
proposed privatization of select airports in Tier-II cities as well as
monetization of spare land available with Airport Authority of India
(AAI) by amending the AAI Act.
Service Tax remains unchanged.