Introduction of Bharat Gaurav trains to tap the vast  tourism potential of India (GS 3, Economics, The Hindu, Indian Express)

News/ Context : Indian railways has announced theme based tourist circuit trains “ Bharat Gaurav Trains”, to showcase India’s magnificent historical places and rich cultural heritage to the people of the world and India, and to tap the vast tourism potential of the country. 

The Indian Railways runs the trains basically for goods and passengers. Under the Bharat Gaurav Schemes trains will run to enhance and support the tourism sector in India. With the help of professionals of the tourism sector,  the Indian Railway will  identify and develop  various tourist circuits and it will run theme based  trains. 

Features : Service Providers and Business Partners with Indian Railways can take these trains and they would be free to decide the themes. Any Organisation, Trust Companies, Cooperatives or the state governments can become the Service Provider and Business Partner with Indian Railways. They can decide the theme such as Ramayana trains,  which could be touching all tourist places connected with Lord Sri Rama or like Gurukripa trains which could cover important places related to Sikh culture. These service providers and business partners can furnish or design the interior of coaches based on their theme. Advertisement and  Branding both outside and inside of the train is permitted. Service Providers can provide all inclusive packages to tourist customers, which means, along with train travel, it could be hotel accommodation, visit to heritage and historical sites, sightseeing arrangements or tour guides etc. Service providers will have full flexibility to decide their package cost based on the level of services they would be offering. 

Earlier in 2014-15, the Ministry of Tourism launched Swadeshi Darshan scheme which was a central sector scheme for integrating the development of theme based tourist circuits in the country. It is envisioned to synergise with other Central government schemes like Make in India, Skill India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, etc with the idea of placing the tourism sector as a major engine for economic growth and job creation. The Ministry of Tourism also  launched The National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) within an aim of holistic development of identified pilgrimage centres. Later in 2017,  the name of the scheme PRASAD was changed to PRASHAD (National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive). 

Important Data: As per India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), a government trust, the direct contribution of the tourism sector in the GDP is expected to record an annual growth rate of 10.35 % yearly between 2019 and 2028. In the year 2020 the Indian tourism sector has contributed 7.3% of total employment in the country which accounts for 31.8 million jobs, as per IBEF. 

In the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019 prepared by World Economic Forum, India got the 34th rank among 140 countries. 

Md Layeeque Azam, Economics Faculty

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