Convergence of tourism and housing in India to generate more employment

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Chandigarh, June 29 (ANI): Union Tourism and Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja has said that both the Ministries under her have vast potential for employment generation and convergence between the two is under active consideration of the Government to utilize their full potential.

Addressing media persons here, Selja said, "The thrust area for the Government will be creation and improvement of tourism infrastructure, promotion and publicity of India as a preferred tourism destination in overseas markets, promotion of domestic tourism, development of human resource through skill development, skill certification and broad basing the hospitality education and most importantly employment generation."

She reiterated that tourism should result in sustainable and equitable growth.

The Minister said that after a decline in foreign tourist arrivals, ranging between 10.6 per cent and 17.6 per cent during the first three months of the current year, as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year 2008, the month of May saw a decline of only 1.9 per cent as compared to May 2008.

"Foreign Tourist Arrivals during the month of May 2009 were 295124, which are almost on par with the figure of 300840 during the same period in 2008," she added.

On housing and urban poverty alleviation, she said the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with approval of projects of nearly Rs. 50,000 crore in the last four years is reshaping our cities and has been widely welcomed.

"It will continue to focus on infrastructure, basic services and governance reform and increase support to cities to upgrade public transport. Over 15 lakh houses are under construction for the urban poor," she added.

The Minister said there is a need to focus urban housing programmes on the poor living in slums.

She said the Government proposes to introduce the Rajiv Awas Yojana for the slum dwellers and the urban poor on the lines of the Indira Awas Yojana for the rural poor.

"The schemes for affordable housing through partnership and the scheme for interest subsidy for urban housing would be dovetailed into the Rajiv Awas Yojana, which would extend support under the JNNURM to States that are willing to assign property rights to people living in slum areas. The government's effort would be to create a slum-free India in five years through the Rajiv Awas Yojana, she added.

She later said her Ministry is working on the features of the Rajiv Awas Yojana and making effort to formulate the scheme for approval by the competent authority within 100 days. (ANI)

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