Addressing the participants, Dr Mahesh Sharma said that tourism should not just be the sole prerogative of the rich. It should be made affordable for the domestic tourist also who desires to take his or her old parents for a pilgrimage, he added. The agenda of the meeting was General overview of Tourism sector for Ministry of Tourism and General overview on Culture for Ministry of Culture.
The Minister explained thenew schemes PRASAD and HRIDAY introduced in the Budget of 2014-15. The MPs appreciated the introduction of Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) as an excellent initiative and that it should be expanded further. They also spoke of opportunities to promote culture and tourism in their respective constituencies. Sh. BishnuPada Ray spoke of the immense potential of Andaman and Nicobar from tourism angle and development of Viper Island and Cellular Jail by the ASI. MPs also advised about proper monitoring of Central funds.
Presentations on the working of the Ministries of Tourism and Culture were made before the members of the consultative committeeduring the meeting. Dr Sharma elaborated the vision andmission of the two ministries to the Members of Parliament. An overview of the tourism sector, the scenario of tourism in Indian economy, global scenario, challenges and goals were also discussed in the meeting.