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Adarsh Smarak Scheme to add 3 sites of Andhra Pradesh to its list

Adarsh Smarak Scheme to add 3 sites of Andhra Pradesh to its list

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  • GS 1 || Art & Culture || Culture of India || Cultural Institutions in India

Why in the news?

  • Recently, three monuments in Andhra Pradesh have been identified under the Adarsh Smarak Scheme. These monuments will be provided with additional amenities and will be made into more tourist-friendly sites.

Details

  • Under the Adarsh Smarak Scheme, the monuments of Nagarjunakonda in Guntur, Buddhist remains of Salihundam in Srikakulam, and Veerabhadra temple (Lepakshi) in Anantapur have been identified for additional facilities such as Wi-Fi, cafeteria, interpretation centre, Braille signages, illumination, and others.
  • Similarly, the fort at Gandikota in Kadapa district has been included in the government’s Adopt a Heritage scheme to raise funds for its upkeep and management.

Adarsh Smarak Scheme

  • This scheme was launched by the Ministry of Culture in the year 2014. Under this scheme, improved visitor amenities are provided to attract tourists. This scheme has been taken up to maintain and develop 100 protected monuments in the country.
  • 100 Monumentsprotected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are being developed and maintained as Adarsh Monuments under the scheme.
  • The civic amenities are being augmented at these sites.

Objectives of the Scheme

  • To make the monument visitor-friendly.
  • To provide interpretation and audio-video centers.
  • To make the monument accessible to differently-abled people.
  • To implement Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Heritage and Cultural  Tourism in India

  • India ranked 34in the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019 published by the World Economic Forum. In WTTC’s Economic Impact 2019 report, India’s Travel & Tourism GDP contribution grew by 4.9%, which was the third-highest after China and the Philippines.
  • At present, India has 48 World Heritage Properties.
  • 30 Cultural properties, 7 Natural properties, and 1 mixed site.
    • Khangchendzonga National Park(Sikkim) was classified as a ‘Mixed’ heritage site in 2016.
  • According to WTO, 37% of international tourism is culturally motivated, and demand is estimated to be growing at 15% annually.
  • Culture and heritage constitute vital resources for tourism development, and tourism, in turn, makes an important contribution to cultural development.

Importance of Cultural and  Heritage tourism

  • Economic benefits:The international recognition of the heritage precinct can significantly boost the local economy in various manners. It also gives a tremendous fillip to domestic and international tourism leading to increased employment generation, the creation of world-class infrastructure, and heritage memorabilia.
  • Service Sector: It stimulates the service sector. With the expansion of the tourism industry comes an increase in the number of businesses engaged in the service sector, such as airlines, hotels, and surface transportation.
  • Potential to enhance and safeguard heritage– By bringing revenue to historic sites, ruins and mausoleums, mythological places tourism has the potential to enhance and safeguard heritage and culture. Similarly, the much-needed foreign currency and investment that tourism brings has the power to revitalize traditional buildings and craft industries.
    • Tourism contributes to the preservation of national heritage and the environment by bringing to light the significance of sites and the need to preserve them.
  • Renewal of Cultural Pride: Tourist destinations that are well-liked around the world instill a sense of pride in Indian residents, which is reinforced.
  • Infrastructural Development: To ensure that travelers do not encounter any difficulties, multiple-use infrastructures are being developed at several tourist destinations. A recent example is Uttarakhand’s plan to launch mobile caravans.
  • It contributes to putting India on the global tourism map, earning appreciation and recognition, and initiating a cultural exchange.
  • Tourism, as a form of soft power, aids in the promotion of cultural diplomacy, people-to-people connections, and thus friendship and cooperation between India and other countries.
    • Cultural tourism can strengthen local people’s self-respect, values, and identity, thereby safeguarding aspects of their intangible heritage and enhancing their development potential.
  • The sites are intended for practical conservation for posterity, which otherwise would be subject to risk from human or animal trespassing, unmonitored/uncontrolled/unrestricted access, or threat from local administrative negligence.

Issues with the heritage conservation

  • Degradation and lack of conservation: Biological agents such as mosses, fungi, algae, and insects degrade building materials such as wood, bricks, stucco, and so on. Furthermore, temperature and moisture, which is a primary cause of monument deterioration, are major concerns. However, conservation efforts have primarily focused on World Heritage sites, while other monuments have been largely ignored and thus degraded over time.
  • Encroachments/illegal occupation: Encroachments on ancient monuments have been a major source of concern. These encroachments are carried out by local shopkeepers, souvenir vendors, or residents. These temporary or permanent structures are incompatible with the architecture of the monument or the surrounding environment.
    • For example, the CAG Report of 2013 noted encroachment within the Taj Mahal’s premises near Khan-i-Bagh. Alam’s
  • Pollution: Various types of environmental pollution endanger heritage properties. Sulfur dioxide and other pollutants emitted by an oil refinery in Mathura and more than 200 furnaces in the Taj Ganj area, for example, harmed the Taj Mahal. Environmentalists, with the assistance of the Supreme Court, prohibited the emission of these polluting agents.
  • Governance issues: The Ministry of Culture’s governance is lax and deficient in areas such as policy and legislation adequacy, financial management, conservation project monitoring, and human resource provision to concerned agencies.
  • Funds: There is a scarcity of funds for conservation projects and upkeep. Furthermore, faulty conservation work budgeting exacerbates the problem.

Steps taken to boost Cultural and  Heritage tourism

  • India has always been famous for its rich heritage and ancient culture. So, the onset of heritage tourism in India was long anticipated. India’s glorious past and cultural diversity make a potent blend that attracts millions of tourists each year to its heritage tourist attractions.
  • The Government of India and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture encourage heritage tourism in India by offering several benefits to Indian states that are particularly famous for attracting tourists. India’s rich heritage is amply reflected in the various temples, palaces, monuments, and fortsthat can be found everywhere in the country.
  • Some schemes
    • Swadesh Darshan Scheme: Under this scheme, the Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to State Governments/Union Territory Administrations for the development of infrastructure for 13 identified theme-based circuits.
      • The 13 circuits are as follows: North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, and Heritage Circuit.
  • Paryatan Parv to encourage Indians to visit tourist destinations in India.
  • Incredible India Website for marketing to and engaging with travelers.
  • Online Learning Management System for developing skilled labour to work as tourist guides.
  • The ‘National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASH) has undertaken integrated development of identified pilgrimage destinations (including job creation).
  • Niche tourism products- The tourism ministry has also taken up the development and promotion of niche tourism products. It has also worked at increasing the pool of trained manpower in the tourism and hospitality sectors for providing quality services to tourists.
  • Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY)
    • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) scheme on 21st January 2015, with a focus on the holistic development of heritage cities.
    • The scheme aims to preserve and revitalize the soul of the heritage city to reflect the city’s unique character by encouraging an aesthetically appealing, accessible, informative & secured environment.
  • Adopt a Heritage scheme
    • It is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India.
    • Under the scheme, the government invites entities, including public sector companies, private sector firms as well as individuals, to develop selected monuments and heritage and tourist sites across India.
    • Development of these tourist sites calls for providing and maintaining basic amenities, including drinking water, ease of access for the differently-abled and senior citizens, standardized signage, cleanliness, public conveniences, etc.
  • Facilities provided under the Adopt a Heritage Scheme
    • The Archaeological Survey of India undertakes activities like providing basic amenities and facilities to the people who visit the monuments or sites that are centrally protected.
    • These amenities include vehicle parking, pathways, toilet units, drinking water dispensers, and facilities for the physically handicapped.
    • Monuments that are identified as “Adarsh Smarak” will get facilities like cafeterias, modern toilets, interpretation centre, Wi-Fi, braille signage, etc. depending upon the requirement and feasibility.

Way forward

  • Accelerating the development of all types of infrastructure (physical, social, and digital) is an urgent need.
  • Tourist safety is a top priority. For tourists, an official guide system could be established.
  • Indian residents should be encouraged to treat tourists well so that tourists are not subjected to any form of fraud.
  • To address the issue of seasonality, other forms of tourism such as medical tourism, adventure tourism, and so on should be promoted. Another option is to concede the off-season.
  • India’s vast natural, geographic, cultural, and artistic diversity provides enormous opportunities. The Indian tourism industry should capitalize on this.
  • Development of infrastructure– Despite the astounding growth, Indian tourism has a substantial untapped potential. No doubt, the government is focusing on promoting heritage & cultural tourism, but a big push is required to convert the earnings into dollars. Of course, other auxiliary sectors like transportation, infrastructure, hotels, and hospitality do impact the earnings of tourism, hence a simultaneous stimulus is imperative.

Mains model Question

  • The cultural and natural heritage of a nation, as embodied in buildings, monuments, and natural wonders, is evidence of a nation’s or civilization’s history. Discuss

References