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Rajasthan Tourism Trade Act amended – Misbehaviour with tourists will land you up in jail

Rajasthan Tourism Trade Act amended – Misbehaviour with tourists will land you up in jail

Relevance:

  • GS 3 || Economy || Services || Tourism

Why in news?

The Rajasthan Assembly passed a Bill to amend the Rajasthan Tourism Trade (Facilitation and Regulation) Act, 2010.

About new bill:

  • The Rajasthan Tourism Trade (Facilitation and Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 amends the 2010 Act by adding a new section 27-A.
  • “Offenses to be cognizable: All offences punished under this Act shall be cognizable and bailable,” according to the provision, “subject to specific conditions, wherein the repeat offence shall be non-bailable.”
  • Sections 3 and 4 of the 2010 Act’s section 13 have been declared cognizable and non-bailable.
  • Section 13 forbids touting, begging, and pitching products for sale in or around tourist locations.
  • The sub sections 3 and 4 deal with habitual offenders.

Importance of Tourism in Rajasthan:

  • Tourism is the state’s most important revenue generator, accounting for around 15% of the state’s GDP; Rajasthan contributes about 11.2 percent and 3.3 percent of India’s foreign and domestic tourist arrivals, respectively.
  • The Rajasthan government has reduced the luxury tax from 10% to 8% in order to stimulate the state’s tourism economy.
  • The number of tourists that visited Rajasthan in 2010 was 26.8 million. Domestic tourists accounted for 25.5 million of the total, while overseas tourists accounted for around 1.3 million.
  • Rajasthan has seen a 12 percent increase in foreign tourists and a 15 percent increase in domestic tourists on a yearly basis..

Reason of the amendment:

  • The legislation was introducedin 2010 to improve tourism and avoid misbehavior with tourists, but it needed to be revised because it did not specify whether the punishment was bailable or non-bailable.
  • The state government established police stations in Jaipur and Udaipur to monitor touting instances, and cases and challans were filed in 2016.
  • However, in January 2017, the accused went to the High Court, which overturned a FIR since the offenses were not clearly listed as cognisable in the Act.

What was the need?

  • The problem of touts, colloquially known as “lapkas,” which primarily exists in Jaipur and Udaipur, which disturbs tourists and tarnishes the reputation of the entire industry.
  • He alleged that the lapkas pretend as tour guides and deceive tourists into shopping in order to make a profit.
  • Nearly a thousand touts have been prosecuted by the police and the Tourism Department since 2018. They are, however, released go easy after paying a fee and return to hawking and bothering travelers.

What is the High Court order that led to the bill?

  • In Jaipur and Udaipur, the state established tourist police stations in response to the 2010 Act. An FIR was filed in one of the incidents in 2016, and a challan was issued.
  • However, the accused Mohammad Hanif Qureshi and Kailash Saini went to court, and the Rajasthan High Court invalidated the FIR in January 2017 on the grounds that the offences punishable under sub-sections (1) and (2) of section 13 of the 2010 Act are not expressly listed as cognisable in the Act.
  • In essence, the 2010 Act had no teeth when it came to dealing with touts.
  • The ministry of finance stated during the briefing that 10.93 million international tourists visited India in 2019 and spent $30.098 billion on leisure and tourism.
  • A foreign tourist’s average daily stay in India is 21 days, with an average daily spending of $34. (2400).
  • The first 5 lakh Tourist Visas would be provided free of charge whenever visa issuing is resumed.
  • The benefit will only be available to each visitor once. The scheme will stay in effect until March 31, 2022, or until 5 lakh visas have been awarded, whichever comes first.
  • The total financial impact is projected to be in the range of 100 crores. More than 11,000 registered tourist guides/travel and tourism stakeholders will receive financial assistance from the Centre.
  • The Finance Minister also launched a new credit guarantee scheme that will allow Micro Finance Institutions to provide loans to 25 lakh people.
  • The interest rate on loans from banks will be capped at MCLR plus 2 per cent. Focus will be on new lending not repayment of old loans.

Government Initiative:

  • SwadeshDarshanScheme Yojana:
    • The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, developed the SwadeshDarshan Scheme to promote the integrated development of theme-based tourist circuits. The initiative intends to promote, develop, and capitalize on India’s tourist potential.
    • The Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India, launched it in 2014-15.
    • It is the country’s theme-based tourist circuits.These tourist circuits will be built in an integrated way, based on the concepts of high tourist value, competitiveness, and sustainability.
    • The SwadeshDarshan has identified 15 thematic circuits for development.
    • The Ministry of Tourism offers Central Financial Assistance – CFA to State Governments and Union Territory Administrations for the building of circuit infrastructure under the SwadeshDarshan plan.

Additional info:

  • Tourist Circuit:
    • A Tourist Circuit is a route that connects at least three major tourist locations that are not in the same town, village, or city and are not separated by a significant distance.
    • Entry and exit points for tourist circuits should be clearly marked. As a result, as a tourist, you should be inspired to visit the majority of the attractions included on the circuit.

Mains oriented question:

Why tourism is important for any tourist place? What are the benefits associated with travelers and tourist at certain place?