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Uttar Pradesh to leverage tourism as poverty-alleviation tool

World Bank-funded Pro-poor tourism project on track

Virendra Singh Rawat  |  Lucknow 

Uttar Pradesh to leverage tourism as poverty-alleviation tool

funded Pro-poor Project covering the top three tourist hotspots in Uttar Pradesh-the Buddhist Circuit, Braj-Mathura and Agra-Taj Mahal regions- is all set to take off after the conclusion of the first round of interaction with its stakeholders.

The final report on the project is underway and is likely to be submitted by September after consultative meetings with all stakeholders come to an end.   

Pro-poor (PPT) is a holistic concept aimed at generating economic, social and cultural benefits aimed for the poor living in the periphery of the various tourist hubs.

According to the World Bank, the primary objective of the UP Pro-poor Project is to increase tourism-related benefits for local communities in the targeted destinations. Within the state, it is aimed at improving the living conditions and augmenting the income of the poor through in the most sought-after tourist destinations in the state.

The project, once operational, would leverage resources through advisory and technical assistance and financing for institutional strengthening, asset rehabilitation, infrastructure and services along these circuits.

Microsave director Manoj K Sharma informed the documents pertaining to the preparation of the Pro-poor Project report was signed earlier this year. Microsave, a global financial inclusion consulting firm, is a knowledge partner in the Pro-poor project for UP.

Over the last several years, a series of meetings have been held between the central and state government representatives for evolving a roadmap for the Pro-poor project in the state.

The plan had been approved by the UP department after the earmarked Rs 700 crore for promoting the Pro-poor infrastructure in the state. Besides, the proposed project had also been approved by the screening committee of the Department of Economic Affairs, union ministry of finance.

Under the project, there is a plan to connect all major temples in the temple towns to allow pilgrims visit them on foot.

The concept of Pro-poor is not an exclusive concept being tailored for India as such but has been espoused internationally for improving the socio-economic conditions of local communities. It has also been used as a tool for alleviation in some poor African countries.

UP is among the leading tourist destinations in India. According to a study titled ‘Realising Potential of UP’, which was published by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), the northern state has the potential to attract over 2.8 million foreign tourists by 2017 compared to over 2 million overseas backpackers in 2013.

Assocham had also observed that an increased thrust on by the state government through means such as enhancing air connectivity, of heritage sites, good management of pilgrimage places, etc. could create a million direct and indirect jobs in the region.

The number of tourists visiting UP has been growing over the years. In 2015, almost 208 million tourists, including 30 million foreign and 205 million domestic tourists had visited the state vis-à-vis 29 million and 183 million respectively in 2014.