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‘Incredible India’ campaign strengthened
New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS):
Published on 27 Feb. 2010 12:56 AM IST
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India’s tourism budget was Friday pegged at Rs.1,119.41 crore (Rs.11.19 billion/$242.4 million) -- a nine percent increase over the previous year allocation -- with almost one-third of it earmarked for the ‘Incredible India’ campaign. The sector received Rs.91 crore more than the amount allocated in the current fiscal. Tourism Minister Kumari Selja welcomed the proposals in the budget and thanked Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee for encouraging the sector. Of the Rs.1,119 crore, Rs.1,050 crore is under planned outlay and the rest is under non-planned outlay for the tourism sector. As per the 2009-10 revised budget, India allocated Rs.1,020 crore, which was just a token increase of Rs.20 crore from the 2008-09 budget. With the tourism sector feeling the pinch of the Mumbai attack, swine flu scare and economic downturn, the government seems to focus more on campaign overseas next fiscal. About Rs.342 crore, an increase of over 15 percent from the previous budget, has been allocated to the ‘Incredible India’ campaign aimed at wooing foreign visitors. The ‘Incredible India’ campaign, showcasing major holiday destinations, has been quite successful and picked up many prestigious international awards. About Rs.67 crore has been allocated for promoting domestic tourism. The amount was Rs.56 crore in the previous budget. In 2009, about 5.11 million foreign tourists visited India compared to 5.28 million in 2008. Tourist infrastructure also got an over six percent increased allocation. About Rs.470 crore has been earmarked for creating new infrastructural facilities like constructing budget accommodations, wayside amenities, tourist reception centres, refurbishment of monuments, adventure and sports facilities and illumination of monuments. In the last budget, the figure was Rs.442 crore. Women and child development fund hiked 50% India will allocate Rs.11,070 crore (Rs.110 billion/nearly $24 billion) for women and child development programmes in 2010-11, a hike of nearly 50 percent from the last fiscal, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced Friday. “I propose to step up the plan outlay for women and child development by almost 50 percent. Several new initiatives that were launched in 2009-10 are now ready for implementation,” Mukherjee said while presenting 2010-11 budget in the Lok Sabha. Last year, the government spent Rs.8,624 crore on women and child development (WCD) programmes. The budget has also sharply hiked the WCD ministry’s funds for the Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls to a whopping Rs.900 crore from last year’s Rs.45 crore. The Integrated Child Protection Scheme launched last year will see a six-fold increase in allocation to Rs.270 crore from Rs.44 crore. The scheme for young children tries to create institutional services, delivery structures, sponsored and foster care services, as well as emergency child helpline and tracking system. The conditional maternity benefit scheme or the Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY) has been allotted Rs.351 crore, up from last year’s Rs.90 lakh.

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