@ Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist
Policy think-tank Pahle India Foundation has recommended that the government should bring the tourism industry under the ‘concurrent list’ by amending Schedule VII of the Constitution. Tourism is currently not mentioned in either Central, State, or Concurrent List.
This recommendation was made by Pahle India Foundation in its study report titled, “An Integrated Value Chain Approach to Ease of Doing Business: A Case Study of Sugar, Alco-Bev, and Tourism.”
The report recommends that tourism should be included under the concurrent list since both the state tourism boards and central ministry have responsibilities in their respective domains. The major budgetary allocations are made by the Centre while States have a larger role in implementation.
“The uncertainties regarding demarcation of responsibilities between centre and state shall persist, until tourism is placed under either of the three lists per Schedule VII of the
Indian Constitution,” the report says.
Among other key recommendations in the report on tourism sector reforms include having a vision document for the food and restaurant sector as it is one of the largest contributors to tourism as a whole. It also recommends establishing a nodal ministry or department for the hospitality sector which is an integral part of tourism. “Due to lack of such a nodal department businesses, have to deal with multiple regulators at the Centre, State, Municipalities, level besides many hyperlocal authorities,” the report states.
“There are several processes and procedures, such as the state Excise Acts, which need to be modified keeping in mind the challenges the country’s travel and tourism industry is facing today. The case in point of such archaic laws is the Punjab Excise Act of 1914. The initiative by Pahle India Foundation towards highlighting the challenges of the tourism industry for the State Governments to think over and plan and execute reforms is a fantastic effort and this will benefit the industry,” says Vineet Taing MC Member, HRANI & President, Vatika Hotels P. Ltd.
Tourism sector was one of the three sectors besides sugar and alco- beverages included in the study to prove that adopting an integrated value chain approach to ease doing business reforms will have more quantifiable gains and better results for the states.
The report examines these three industries as case studies which are integrated to show how inter-linkages have to be taken into account while implementing reforms in industries.
Mr. Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog, who launched the report in New Delhi recently said that the report would be shared with all state governments by NITI Aayog to enable them to make structural reforms in each of the three sectors included in the report.
The report recommends that, in place of current method followed by DPIIT for coming up with reforms policies for the states, it should instead allow states to adopt a sectoral approach to ease of doing business.
This way states can pick the sectors that are most important to them, and take measures to reform those on priority, the report states.
The Indian tourism industry is the seventh-largest in the world and contributes 9.4 per cent to the country’s GDP and accounted for 42 lakh jobs (2018), which is 8.2 per cent of total employment.