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Jaitley blasts Congress for ignoring tourism

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: Coming down heavily on the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government for ignoring the tourism industry, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stressed on the need to formulate policies for rejuvenating the sector.

“I regret to say that earlier governments didn’t make policies which could have increased tourism in the country. In fact, they framed such policies that made the tourism sector weak,” Jaitley said after laying the foundation stone of a new building of the tourism ministry.

Despite India having the potential to lure tourists, policies are needed to improve the industry in the future, said Jaitley.

Mentioning that India boasts of the longest sea shore, huge forests, religious places and culture, to attract tourists, he emphasized on the need to build more infrastructure, especially airports. “India should increase its airline capacity from 5 to 10 per cent to cater to more foreign tourist in the country,” he added.

Highlighting the role of states, Jaitley said for creating strong tourism infrastructure, it was important to take the help of states.

“The new Paryatan Bhawan will now provide a base for working on all aspects of tourism and increasing the potential of tourism in India,” he said.

Union Minister of State for Tourism Mahesh Sharma said, “the government fully understands the importance of tourism. It is possible for people to discover the cultures of different countries and cultivate respect for them via the medium of tourism,”

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“Tourism is the engine of economic growth and we need to increase India’s share in world tourism from 0.68 to 1 percent by 2020 to realize the full potential of this sector. Tourism helps in women empowerment and youth employment,” he added.

Sharma also said that naming the new office complex of the tourism ministry after Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay was a real tribute to the visionary leader who talked about integral humanism.

Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhayay Paryatan Bhawan is a tourism ministry project housing a multi-level car parking-cum-office complex.

“The new building will have three storeys apart from the ground floor and two basements meant for stacked car parking. The project is estimated to cost around Rs 150 crore,” an official release said.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Brazil’s President Bolsonaro Faces First Defeat in Congress

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal.

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Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro arrives at the inauguration ceremony of the new president of the Parliamentary Front of Agriculture (FPA), at the Clube Naval, in Brasilia, Jan. 19, 2019. VOA

Brazil’s lower chamber handed right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro his first defeat in Congress on Tuesday, the day before his government presents its most important legislative proposal to rein in a gaping budget deficit and spur growth.

The house voted overwhelmingly to suspend an executive order by the Bolsonaro government that altered Brazil’s freedom of information law to broaden the number of officials allowed to designate data and documents as secret or ultra-secret.

Lawmakers voted 367 to 57 to fast-track a bill overturning the secrecy measure and government whips were unable to muster votes to avoid defeat.

The bill must still be voted on by the Senate, but the reversal showed that Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1, has not yet been able to organize a coalition in Congress to back his legislative agenda.

On Wednesday, Bolsonaro will send to Congress his plan to overhaul Brazil’s generous and costly pension system that eats up more than half of federal spending and is the main factor behind an unsustainable budget deficit.

Brazil, Bolsonaro
FILE – Gustavo Bebianno in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sept. 29, 2018. VOA

Approval of pension reform is vital for the recovery of investor confidence in Latin America’s largest economy.

The defeat on the floor of the house came one day after Bolsonaro fired a senior minister amid a scandal involving campaign financing for some of his party’s congressional candidates in the October elections.

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The ousted minister, Gustavo Bebianno, was instrumental in getting Bolsonaro elected but had a run-in with one of the president’s sons, triggering the weeks-old government’s first cabinet crisis.

In a note to clients, analysts at Eurasia Group said the scandal indicated the administration’s political team was in disarray, but they still expected the pension reform to get passed, albeit in a less ambitious version. (VOA)