Tourism News

Old Wine with a New Flavour

Old Wine with a New Flavour
The Jharkhand Tourism Policy 2021 was recently launched. But is it the same as the 2015 Policy?
Asheesh Bhandari
The Jharkhand Tourism Policy 2021 was officially launched by the Chief Minister of Jharkhand at New Delhi. The State Government believes that development of the tourism sector will reduce unemployment in the State and contribute to economic development. The goal of this policy is to bring Jharkhand at par with other states in the field of tourism by 2025. Broad objectives of this policy are stated to meet this goal which seem to be the same as the Tourism Policy of 2015. This probably reflects the long term perspective of the state government in terms of goals, objectives and strategies. But if for some reason the goals are not being achieved as anticipated, strategies need to be tweaked. That’s what the state government has done in the new policy of 2021.
Making land available
The Policy document of 2015 states that land identified for tourism development would be consolidated into a Tourism Land Bank under the Department of Tourism. The identified land belonging to the government would be transferred free of cost, while private land would be acquired by paying suitable compensation.
The District Collectors were authorized to release up to 10 acres of Government land for tourism purpose to the Department of Tourism. Government land in excess of 10 acres would be transferred to the Department of Tourism by the District Collector with the approval of the Department of Revenue and Land Reforms.
The land would then be allotted to the private sector in a transparent manner and based on the techno-economic feasibility of the required tourism infrastructure. 
The Jharkhand Tourism Policy 2021 changes this. Now all government land would be allotted to Industrial Area Development Authorities (IADA) of the Department of Industries. The IADA will strengthen and expand their land bank by identifying barren, unirrigated land which is not utilized by the government departments and corporations in their respective areas. The government land will be allotted to the Tourism Units as per the availability and policy of the Department of Revenue, Registration & Land Reforms, Government of Jharkhand. Land Acquisition would be executed by a competent authority and the Department of Tourism will monitor and expedite the process.
Direct purchase of land for Tourism Enterprises will be done in accordance with the legal provisions and policies / guidelines of Department of Revenue, Registration and Land Reforms.
This modification ensures that going forward the land bank does not vest with the Department of Tourism. It is now rightly under the control of the IADAs. However the policy does not make clear what happens to the land already transferred to the Department of Tourism under the 2015 Policy.
Religious Tourism
Religious tourism is a thrust area for Tourism development in Jharkhand. Baba Baidyanath Dham temple at Deoghar, housing one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the country, is an important tourist destination. The Deoghar Airport was recently inaugurated and marks an important milestone in the development of Tourism in the state. The state government intends to develop Parasnath, Madhuban, Itkhori and Basukinath on the lines of Deoghar. The 2021 Policy also talks of developing religious circuits like the Buddhist Circuit from Itkhori to Kauleshwari.
With more than 30% of the state under forest cover, Eco-Tourism continues to be a thrust area in the 2021 Tourism Policy of the state. In the new policy statement, the government would undertake the development of Eco-circuits like the Latehar – Netarhat – Betla – Chandil – Dalma – Mirchaiya – Getalsud circuit.
An Eco-Tourism Advisory Board would be set up under the Chairmanship of the Chief Minister of Jharkhand as the highest authority for all project approvals in eco-sensitive zones. This Board will comprise Secretaries from the related departments and the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest cum Executive Director Barren Land Development Board. 
Use of Public Private Partnership arrangements to set up camping sites, the use of Forest Rest houses to accommodate tourists, and development of wildlife sanctuaries and national parks continue to be key objectives for this thrust area.
Cultural Tourism
Under this thrust area, the policy continues to endeavour to promote various fairs and festivals, traditional lifestyles, customs, dress, food habits and cuisines of Jharkhand.
The 2021 Policy proposes to develop an integrated tribal complex so that tourists can experience the culture, history, heritage, and cuisine of the tribes all in one place. Handicrafts of the state would be promoted and marketing platforms will be developed together with the Department of Industries. Cuisines are to be promoted through food festivals and gourmet cuisine trails.
Rural Tourism
To promote its rich cultural traditions and customs prevalent in the various tribes of the state, the government continues to endeavour to develop rural tourism as an important thrust area. Rural tourism villages would be notified by the government, selected on the basis of the predominance of their traditional art and culture and proximity to existing tourist centres. Village Tourism Committees would be constituted in such villages to promote cooperation through self-help groups. For effective management and support “Rural Tourism Sub-committees” are proposed which will comprise Panchayati Raj Institution members.
The identified villages would be developed as model villages with suitable infrastructure and renovation of homes. For this purpose, tie ups with financial institutions for funds are proposed. The model villages would also promote local handicrafts, culture and cuisines. Linkages to artisan clusters and craft hubs would help in developing Rural Tourism Hubs.
Necessary steps for wide publicity and promotion of these rural tourism destinations would be taken by the Department of Tourism.
Adventure Tourism
The terrain and topography of Jharkhand are conducive to adventure tourism. Natural formation of large water bodies, hills, dense forests and enthralling terrain enable a number of adventure activities such as paragliding, hot air ballooning, rock climbing, trekking, gliding, water sports including river rafting, canoeing, and kayaking.
The Jharkhand Adventure Tourism Institute will continue to be the primary body to provide adventure tourism services and act as a training centre for local youth to act as Guides. Private sector involvement in adventure tourism would encourage the use of latest technologies and equipment.
The state government would develop a rescue system for adv Aenture sports and other tourism related activities. This will include rescue equipment like recovery vans, medical support, communications etc.
Water Sports and Amusement Parks
Tourist places suitable for Water Tourism such as dams, lakes and reservoirs will be identified. Private investors will be licensed to operate house boats, cruise boats, hover craft, fly boards, motor boats and to conduct water sport activities. Amusement Parks will be established to attract tourists.
Wellness Tourism
Wellness is a rapidly growing tourism segment. The government of Jharkhand plans to develop centres for wellness tourism to promote the state as a “Rest and Recuperate” brand. In consultation with the Health Department, hospitals and Ayurveda centres would be graded and listed. Holistic Therapy Centres that provide physiotherapy, Ayurveda, naturopathy, yoga and herbal treatment will be promoted. Events based on Spiritual, Medical, or Wellness Tourism would be conceptualized and promoted.
Weekend Getaway Tourism
A number of tourist spots in Jharkhand are within driving distance from major cities in neighbouring states of Bihar, West Bengal, and Odisha. The state government has identified such spots and plans to aggressively market and promote them on all media platforms. Infrastructure gaps, particularly road connectivity and last mile connectivity will be covered on a war footing.
The Prime Minister of India recently inaugurated the Deoghar Airport and other projects worth Rs 16,000 crores. A number of road projects are included in this package.
Heritage Accommodation
Old mansions and heritage buildings with distinctive façade and architectural features will be used as Heritage Accommodation. To ensure conservation and maintenance of the heritage buildings, support of the Archaeological Survey of India will be sought.
Mining Tourism
Mining Tourism is a popular concept in mineral rich countries around the world. Jharkhand being the centre for mining of various minerals and metals in the country, can be the primary destination for Mining Tourism in the country. The 2021 Tourism Policy also plans to promote closed and abandoned mines as tourist destinations. Tie-ups with mining companies are in the pipe-line. Mining tourism would showcase the mineral strength of the state and educate tourists about the mining and mineral-based activities. The school children, students of mining and geology, and mining enthusiasts would stand to gain from such tourism.
Jharkhand Tourism Home Stay Scheme
Home stays are popular among Budget travellers and those wanting to experience first-hand the way of local life. With the local populace being humble and welcoming, home stays are great options for travellers to Jharkhand to experience the local hospitality, customs, traditions, and local cuisine. The Jharkhand Tourist Home Stay Scheme would not only augment the available accommodation facilities but also provide comfort for the tourists.
Homestay facilities will be approved by and registered with the Department of Tourism. The concerned service providers will be imparted basic training by the state government and provided financial assistance and incentives. The state government will promote the registered home stays on its website.
Fiscal Incentives
In its Tourism Policy of 2021, the Government of Jharkhand will provide the following incentives in order to:
Stimulate the growth of the tourism sector for creating employment opportunities
Provide incentives to attract investors 
Remove dis-incentives in the existing system
All fiscal incentives would be routed through the Single Window System of the Department of Industries.
Incentives are available to the following tourism units or activities:
Tourism Unit / activity Minimum Investment required (Rs. Crore)
Hotels :
Should have air conditioned rooms to let, reception centre-cum-lounge, restaurant, convention centre and car parking. All rooms should include attached bathrooms and be well furnished 10.00
Hotels of standard category in notified Tourist destination except the cities of Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro, and Jamshedpur:
Should have lettable rooms, a restaurant, common sitting area, and car parking. All rooms shall have modern sanitization and adequate furniture.
These are considered to be hotels built specifically as a destination in itself to create a captive trade. Resorts should-
 Be located near riverside, lakes, hills, forests, waterbody etc. 
Have lettable air-conditioned well furnished rooms including attached bathrooms. 
Have facilities like dining area, conference room, swimming pool, and lounge
Built on a minimum area of 2 acres of land. 10.00
Amusement Parks:
Commercially operated enterprises that offer rides, games and other forms of entertainment. Built over a minimum area of 5 acres. Should have a food court, at least 5 operational rides with a total minimum carrying capacity of 100 persons at a time.
Standalone multiplexes will not be treated as amusement parks 10.00
Transport system for people especially in Tourist destinations in mountainous areas, or used to reach difficult places / places normally inaccessible by road. Carriers should be suspended from moving cables powered by motor. The aerial distance of the ropeway between lower station and upper station should be at least 100m and minimum carrying capacity of 50 tourist per hour. Proper terminal required at both ends with waiting lounge, toilet facility, first aid facility etc. 10.00
Water Sports:
Water related adventure / leisure activities such as sailing, wind surfing, scuba diving, water skiing, water scooter, river rafting, kayaking, snorkelling, paddling etc. Should be set up near a water body and shall offer at least 4 water sports activities along with a jetty. Should have adequate changing rooms, showers, lockers, and separate toilets for men and women. It should have a booking counter, trained staff and shall comply with prescribed norms and regulations. 1.00
Cruise Tourism / House Boats:
Water cruises are trips taken for leisure in a water body for a short duration ranging in hours. It should have a minimum capacity to host 25 passengers plus crew members with facilities for on board dining, accommodation and entertainment. It shall comply with prescribed norms and regulations.
House boat is a boat that has been designed to be used primarily as a human dwelling. Vessels shall be in conformity to the prescribed norms and regulations. Accommodation facilities shall include bedroom with attached bathroom, kitchen and common toilet for staff. 24 hours water and power supply shall be ensured. All the safety norms prescribed in this regard shall be adhered to. Houseboat infrastructure shall include jetty, parking and onshore infrastructure. 1.00
Camping Sites:
Camping Sites on a minimum area of 0.20 acres and at least ten tents with minimum accommodation capacity of 20 persons, put on raised platform shall be eligible. All the tents shall have attached toilets. In addition to this there shall be a kitchen, dining area, and common washroom area. It shall have adequate power supply, water supply, sewerage and security arrangements. 0.50
Adventure Sports:
The adventure sports activities include activities like paragliding, zip lining, bungee jumping, fun adventure rock climbing, gliding, motor gliding, hot air ballooning etc. Necessary infrastructure to perform at least 5 adventure activities shall be available along with trained staff. All necessary norms and regulations shall be complied with. 0.50
Aero Sports:
Aerosports centres with capacity of accommodating at least 20 persons at any point of time. Such centres may engage in aerosports activities as well as provide training. 0.50
Sound and Light Show:
A night time spectacle or performance in which illumination is done and the narrative is imparted to spectators by means of audio-visual, digital or electronic medium. It shall have adequate seating arrangement for at least 50 persons, shall have system for controlling lighting and sound and shall have adequate power arrangements and public amenities such as separate toilets for male and female. 0.25
Rural Tourism Sites:
Sites should have a minimum capacity of accommodating not less than 10 tourists at a time. Accommodation shall be in the same pattern as found in the vicinity and should merge with the ambient environment. Preference to be given to local cuisines. It shall showcase local culture, art and craft and lifestyle and have adequate arrangements for food, power supply, water supply and hygienic toilets. 0.25
The following incentives are available to new tourism units:
Capital Investment incentive:
Capital Investment Subsidy Financial Limit on Capital Investment Subsidy Special benefits
For Municipal Corporation Area and Jamshedpur NAC area
20% Subsidy limit of Rs. 7.5 Crores. The subsidy would be reimbursed in the following Slabs: (a) 50% at the time of commissioning for commercial operations. (b) 50% at the end of first year of commercial operations Additional 5% incentives over and above Rs. 5 lakhs for SC/ ST Entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneurs, Handicapped persons and Ex- servicemen shall be admissible.
For Other Areas (Other than Municipal Corporation Area and Jamshedpur NAC area)
25% Subsidy limit of Rs. 10 Crores. The subsidy would be reimbursed in the following Slabs: (a) 50% at the time of commissioning for commercial operations. (b) 50% at the end of first year of commercial operations. Additional 5% incentives over and above Rs. 5 lakhs for SC/ ST Entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneurs, Handicapped persons and Ex- servicemen shall be admissible.
Expenditure on Capital Investment Incentive:
Eligible Expenditure Ineligible Expenditure
Payment made towards registration charges of land. Building construction for tourism activities/services which includes boundary wall, landscaping and any other project specific construction Cost of land 
Plant and machinery Working Capital 
Interior Furnishing Goodwill 
Electrical Installation Commissioning fees
Furniture and fixtures Royalty
Kitchen equipment Pre-operative expenses
Sewage treatment plant (STP) Second hand plant and machinery, furniture, fixtures, electrical installation etc.
Generator and AC plant/ AC unit Interest capitalised
Sanitary fittings. Trucks, cars, vans, trailers and other transport vehicles
Consumables like crockery, utensils, bed linen etc. 
Technical/Consultant fees
Any construction which is the nature of real estate development like shops, flats, offices etc. meant for sale/lease/rent
Captive Power generating Subsidy
A Captive Power Generating Subsidy of 30% subject to a limit of Rs. 5 lakhs is available for all New Tourism Units. Additional 5% incentive over and above with a cap of Rs.0.75 lakhs to SC/ST Entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneurs, Handicapped persons and Ex-servicemen shall be admissible.
Interest Subsidy
New Tourism Units eligible for the fiscal incentives are entitled to a subsidy on the actual interest paid to financial institutions / banks on loans taken. The interest subsidy of 50% subject to a limit of Rs 20 lakhs for 5 years. An additional incentive of 5% would be available to Tourism Units in Scheduled Areas outside urban limits.
State Goods and Services tax 
New Tourism Units eligible for fiscal incentives are entitled to a reimbursement of 75% of net SGST paid for a period of five years from the date of commencement of commercial operations.
Electricity Duty
Electricity duty will be reimbursed to eligible New Tourism units for a period of five years from the date of commencement of commercial operations.
Stamp Duty
Eligible New Tourism Units will be reimbursed 2% stamp duty paid to register / purchase/ lease of land or building for the first transaction only.
Holding Tax
Holding tax will not be charged from new Tourism Units for the first five years from the date of commencement of commercial operations. The holding tax is currently 43% of the rental value of a house and it covers property tax, latrine tax, water tax and education cess.
Juhar!! Namaste!!

People will go to Jharkhand for business and leisure if the image of the state improves. It is currently perceived to be a backward state that is an unsafe destination. With such great plans for boosting tourism and support from the Central Government on matters pertaining to that government, the image and popularity of Jharkhand will certainly get a substantial boost.  

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