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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday while unveiling three projects connected to the Somnath temple said that India moved up from the 65th position in the world tourism and travels competitive index to the 34th position from 2013 to 2019.

"In the last seven years, many policy decisions have been taken for the development of tourism in the country. We have moved forward with the e-visa and visa on arrival. We have even reduced the Visa fees. We have exempted the GST on the tourism and hospitality sector, providing a boost to it. This will also help in reducing the Covid-19 effects," said the PM.

The PM said many efforts were made for the visiting tourists. "Tourists, when they visit, want adventure and want to get thrilled by it. Keeping this in mind, 120 mountain peaks have been opened up for trekking. Guides are being provided training through special programmes so that there are no inconveniences to the tourists. This will also provide job opportunities," added the PM.

Along with the tourism places, efforts were also made for the development of pilgrim places.

"We are reviving the glories of the past. The Ramayana Circuit is right in front of us. People are getting to know newer places associated with the Lord Ram. Today, we have that opportunity to experience that by visiting these places and knowing how Lord Ram is for everyone living across the entire country," said the PM.

File:Buddha's statue near Belum Caves Andhra Pradesh India.jpg ...

"Similarly, the Buddhist Circuit is providing facilities for tourism to Buddha followers from all over the world to come to India and travel. Equally, our tourism ministry is developing 15 destinations on different themes under the 'Swadesh Darshan' scheme. Through these, development opportunities will be provided to many of the disregarded places of the country," added the PM.

"Our forefathers had the farsightedness to associate far-flung and remote areas of our country with our faith. They worked on giving a feeling of oneness with those places. But when we were capable and had modern techniques and resources, we just left them thinking them as out of reach. Our hilly regions are a big example of that. But now, the country is dividing the gap between these holy pilgrimages. Whether it be the development of Baba Kedarnath, the construction of highways and tunnels in hilly terrains of Uttarakhand for Char Dham Yatra, development around the 'Vaishno Devi temple' or the high tech infrastructure reaching the northeast, today there is a reduction in distances between our own," said the PM.

File:Somnath-current.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

"Similarly, in 2014, to develop the pilgrim places in the country, we had announced the 'PRASAD' scheme where forty pilgrimages were to be developed. Out of which works on 15 have been completed. In Gujarat also, work for three projects under this scheme worth Rs 100 crore is ongoing. We are making an emphasis on increasing the connectivity between such places and cities. Efforts are that when tourists visit one place, they are attracted towards a nearby tourism place as well," informed the PM.

"We have identified 19 iconic tourist destinations in the country which are being developed. All these projects will provide a new energy in the tourism sector in the coming times. Through tourism, the country today is not only connecting the common man but is also itself moving forward," said the PM.

"The traditions of our country are inspiring us to forget the difficulties and move forward despite the tough times. We have seen that in the Corona times, tourism is a ray of hope for people. So we have to constantly expand our nature for tourism and culture.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of multiple projects in Somnath, Gujarat via video conferencing. The projects includes the Somnath Promenade, Somnath Exhibition Centre and reconstructed temple precinct of Old (Juna) Somnath.

The Somnath Promenade has been developed under PRASHAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive) scheme at a total cost of over Rs 47 crore.

The Somnath Exhibition Centre, developed on the premises of 'Tourist Facilitation Centre', displays the exhibits from dismantled parts of the old Somnath temple and its sculptures having Nagar style temple architecture of old Somnath.

The reconstructed temple precinct of Old (Juna) Somnath has been completed by Shree Somnath Trust with a total outlay of Rs 3.5 crore.

The PM also laid the foundation stone of the Parvati Temple. The Parvati Temple is proposed to be constructed with a total outlay of Rs 30 crore. This will include temple construction in Sompura Salats Style, development of Garbha Griha and Nritya Mandap.


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