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Congress announces special budget for religious tourism in its election manifesto for HP

Congress has made a religious pitch in its election manifesto for Himachal Pradesh, rolling out ambitious promises ranging from a free once-in-four-years pilgrimage for all elderly to a dedicated budget for the promotion of religious tourism in every Assembly constituency, reports The Indian Express.

The party’s manifesto — ‘Himachal, Himachaliyat aur Hum’— released at Rajiv Bhawan in Shimla includes a stand-alone segment titled – “Devsthan and Tirth Yatras” (Temples and Pilgrimages).

There is also a pledge of free pilgrimage to any shrine of choice for all elderly in the state, with the Congress promising to foot the bill for such a trip every four years.

AICC in-charge of Himachal Rajeev Shukla also announced a “Dev Bhumi Vikas Nidhi”, a fund that entails dedicating budgeting for each assembly constituency to promote religious tourism.

The Congress, which has made promises probably for the first time in any election manifesto, has further promised to double the annual contribution to state-supported temples.

Emoluments to temple priests will also be raised to twice from what they are getting now.

The manifesto also states that tourism circuits will be developed to strengthen religious tourism and the special budget for the restoration and modernisation of temples in the state would be set up. (Source: The Indian Express)

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