2024 Union Budget Sparks Optimism for Inclusive Tourism Growth and Infrastructure Boost

Mrs.  Nirmala  Sitharaman, Union Minister for Finance and Corporate  Affairs, Govt of India presented the Interim Budget 2024-25 in Parliament on 1st  February 2024, emphasizing comprehensive development of tourist centers for achieving the vision of  ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047.

Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman said that states would be encouraged to take up comprehensive development of iconic tourist centres, branding and marketing them at a global scale. She further added that long-term interest-free loans will be provided to States for financing such development on a matching basis. To promote the comprehensive development of the centres, a framework for the rating of the centres based on the quality of facilities and services will be established.

The Union Finance Minister highlighted that India’s middle class also aspires to travel & explore; tourism, including spiritual tourism, has tremendous opportunities for local entrepreneurship.

In continuation to this, she said that to address the emerging fervour for domestic tourism, projects for port connectivity, tourism infrastructure, and amenities will be taken up on the islands, including Lakshadweep and this will help in generating employment.

The success of organizing G20 meetings in sixty places presented the diversity of India to a global audience and the economic strength has made the country an attractive destination for business and conference tourism. She added.

 The Finance Minister proposed to increase the outlay for infrastructure development by 11 per cent which will amount to Rs.11,11,111 Crores.  This would be 3.4 percent of the GDP. The Finance Minister further stated this increase in allocation reflects the huge multiplier impact of infrastructure development on economic growth and employment creation.

Mrs.. Nirmala Sitharaman proposed that three major economic railway corridor programmes identified under PM Gati Shakti will be implemented.  These are (i) energy, mineral, and cement corridors; (ii) port connectivity corridors, and (iii) high traffic density corridors.  These projects will enable multi-model connectivity, improve logistics efficiency, and reduce cost. The resultant decongestion of the high-traffic corridors will also help in improving the operations of passenger trains, resulting in safety and higher travel speed for passengers. Together with dedicated freight corridors, these three economic corridor programs will accelerate our GDP growth and reduce logistic costs.  She said that 40,000 normal rail bogies are proposed to be converted to Vande Bharat standards to enhance the safety, convenience, and comfort of passengers.

The  Minister highlighted that the number of airports in the country has doubled to 149 in ten years.  More number of cities are brought under airman through the UDAN Scheme.  This has resulted in Indian carriers placing orders for over 1000 new aircraft, she added.  She further said that the expansion of existing airports and the development of new airports will be expedited.  

Five hundred and seventeen new routes are carrying 1.3 crore passengers. Indian carriers have proactively placed orders for over 1000 new aircraft. Expansion of existing airports and development of new airports will continue expeditiously.

Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman stated that Metro Rail and NaMo Bharat train systems will support the expansion of large cities, especially transit-oriented development.

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