Srinagar: Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha today launched the J&K Tourist Village Network under the umbrella of Mission Youth. The initiative aims to transform 75 UT villages known for their historic, scenic beauty and cultural significance into tourist villages.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lieutenant Governor said the youth-led sustainable tourism initiative will strengthen the rural economy and community entrepreneurship, empowering youth and women by providing direct employment opportunities and indirect.
Highlighting the purpose behind the initiative, the Lieutenant Governor observed that the UT government is adopting best practices recognizing the uniqueness of each village and showcasing landscapes, Indigenous knowledge systems, diversity and the cultural heritage, local values and traditions, in addition to encouraging the filming of films and offering financial incentives as well as the guarantee of a digital platform to all these villages.
Emphasizing on harnessing the potential of the younger population and empowering them, the Lieutenant Governor reiterated the government’s commitment to providing maximum and equal opportunities to young people from diverse backgrounds and enabling their involvement in policies that affect them.
We respond to the needs of our young people and respond to innovative ideas to build a strong future, he added.
This system makes it possible to simultaneously meet the challenge of global warming and unemployment. Young people will be our brand ambassador for green tourism, making development more sustainable while bringing prosperity to the community, observed the Lieutenant Governor.
The Lieutenant Governor said that through the Mission Youth initiative, registered youth and self-help groups have the opportunity to be part of the government’s efforts to transform J&K villages.
The younger generation has acquired a prominent position in government policies. With strategic planning and capacity building for youth empowerment, the administration of UT strives to build the self-confidence of young people to be enterprising.
We are developing the sectors important to young people to ensure that young people wishing to start their own business receive sufficient financial support and are able to realize their dream, added the Lieutenant Governor.
Besides promoting ecotourism and agrotourism, traditional performing arts and adventure tourism for the creation of a rural tourism circuit, the Lieutenant Governor called on all stakeholders, ministries, PRI and local communities, to work as one unit for seamless implementation on the ground.
The lieutenant governor suggested four broader areas for promotional activities, including farm stays, ecotourism, wildlife tourism and tribal tourism. At the same time, there is also a need to train young people in public-private and community partnership models, he added.
The Lieutenant Governor advised exploring the modalities of the PPP model, in addition to promoting added value and focusing on the convergence of programs to lay a solid foundation for the development of a sustainable tourism ecosystem.
Deputy Commissioners have been tasked with focusing on ensuring that financial support is extended to eligible applicants to achieve program objectives.
Today, J&K ranks first in the country in terms of tourist influx. In the month of July, about 10.5 lakh tourists visited J&K and the figure reached 11.22 lakh in August. I hope and believe that soon, UT Villages will make their way to the list of the top 10 tourist villages in the nation, the lieutenant governor said.
The Lieutenant Governor advised the CEO of Mission Youth to work in conjunction with the Department of Tourism to utilize available resources under the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan (PMRP), where 45 villages in Jammu and Kashmir were to be developed as tourist villages.
Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary, speaking on the occasion, emphasized the need to create an inclusive ecosystem to bring J&K villages onto the tourism map.
Dr. Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, CEO of Mission Youth, gave a detailed overview of the J&K Tourist Village Network program.
He informed that special initiatives and grants are offered to encourage the filming of films and the creation of tourist facilities under the program. The initiative has been incorporated into J&K Film Policy, he added.
Ch. Bhupendra Kainthola, Director of Film & Television Institute of India, in his address, briefed on the efforts of the FTII to promote the film sector at J&K.
Ch. Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor; Ch. Vivek Bhardwaj, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Health and Medical Education; Ch. Shaleen Kabra, Principal Secretary to Government, Ministry of Home Affairs; Ch. Shailendra Kumar, Principal Secretary to Government, Department of Public Works (R&B); Ch. Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor and Deputy Commissioners were present, both in person and virtually.