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Wednesday, 26 September, 2018, 09 : 15 AM [IST]

India’s heritage has huge potential for tourism development & job creation: Vice President

While inaugurating two Swadesh Darshan scheme projects of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh earlier this week, M. Venkaiah Naidu, Vice President of India, said that India’s rich cultural, historical, religious and natural heritage provides a huge potential for development of tourism and job creation. He further said that the tourism industry is one of the greatest sources of economic growth and job creation. Tourism sector has become a mass industry in the last two decades and is considered to be a significant sector for regional development, he added.

The projects are Development of Kakinada - Hope Island - Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary - Passarlapudi - Aduru - S Yanam – Kotipally and, Development of Nellore - Pulikat Lake - Ubblamadugu Water Falls - Nelapattu -Kothakoduru- Mypadu - Ramateertham – Iskapalli. The inauguration event witnessed the presence of Union Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism, K.J. Alphons, Bhuma Akhila Priya Minister for Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh, and, Rashmi Verma, Union Tourism Secretary in Tirupati. These projects are the first under the Swadesh Drashan scheme to be inaugurated in the Southern region. The Vice President also inaugurated the state-of-the-art, Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) campus, Tirupati.

Inaugurating the projects, the Vice President said that Indian cuisine reflects the culture and tradition of the country which includes varied landscapes, linguistic diversity, colourful festivals, and multi-ethnicity. He said that he looks at Chefs as not only the practitioners of their art, but also as the protectors and flag-bearers of our great culinary heritage and legacy.

Speaking at the event, the Alphons said that the tourism industry is one among the major contributors to employment generation in the country and the Culinary Institute will help in imparting skills to more youth thereby further generating employment. The Minister also added that the Government will also provide financial assistance for roping in international faculty for the institute if necessary, so that ICI could be one among the premier culinary institutes.

The Swadesh Darshan scheme is one of the flagship schemes of MoT for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned and prioritised manner. Under this scheme, the Government is focussing on development of quality infrastructure with the objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors and foster economic growth. The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and, as on date the Ministry has sanctioned 74 projects worth INR 5,997.47 crore to 31 states and UTs. 30 of these projects are expected to be inaugurated this year.
The project Development of Kakinada - Hope Island - Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary - Passarlapudi - Aduru - S Yanam – Kotipally was sanctioned by MoT in March 2015 for IRN 69.83 crore. The project covers Kakinada and Konaseema region in East Godavari District. This region is known for its beaches, wildlife, forested hill ranges, agricultural landscape, pilgrim sites and hospitable people.  Development of tourist facilities will help in establishment of this region as major tourist centre in region. Under the project, MoT has developed integrated facilities like Passenger Terminal, Multi-Cuisine Food Courts with Souvenir Shop, Amphitheatre, Laser Show, Parking facility at Kakinada Beach Front for INR 45.66 Crores. At Coringa Wild Life sanctuary, a world-class Interpretation Centre has been developed. In addition to the above, other facilities like jetties, illumination, last mile connectivity, landscaping, benches, drinking water facility, parking etc. has been developed at other sites under the project.
The 2nd project Development of Nellore was sanctioned in December 2015 for INR 59.70 crores. Nellore has huge potential to be developed as a leading tourist destination in the region because of its proximity to Chennai, Bengaluru and Tirupati and also due to its abundant natural resources. Keeping this in mind, the MoT has developed facilities like Tourist Facilitation Centres, Jetties, boating facilities, parking, Log Huts Water Front Development, Watch towers, Trekking paths at these sites.
The Culinary Institute at Tirupati is set up by the MoT with its campus spread in 14 acres of land and the project being completed at a total cost of INR 97.92 crore. The ICI Tirupati campus comprises of an  academic block with state-of-art kitchens, labs and classrooms; an administrative block; commercial restaurant; culinary museum,  executive guesthouse; VIP cottages; hostels for  boys and girls and staff residences.
ICI commences its 3-year BBA in Culinary Arts programme in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Amarkantak. In addition to this, other under graduate level certificate and diploma level programmes for skill building are on the anvil.  Post graduation and Doctoral level research programmes will also be started at this institute.
The main objective of setting up of the ICI is to institutionalise a mechanism to support efforts intended to preserve, document, promote and disseminate Indian cuisine, meet the sectoral requirement of specialists specific to Indian cuisine, as also of promoting cuisine as a Niche Tourism product. The main thrust area of ICI is to, not only create internationally recognized culinary experts, but also preserve the Indian cuisine, regional cuisine, document them and showcase them internationally.   
ICI has been set up by MoT under Societies Registration Act, 1860, as an educational research Institute, headquartered at Tirupati with another campus created at Sector 62, Noida. In India, at present, there is a dearth of state-of-the-art training ground to groom top-of-the-line chefs of international standards. To fill this void, the ICI would provide appropriate training platform at par with the elite “Chef Schools” functioning in different parts of the developed world.
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