Inviting investment from the private sector, the Jharkhand government on Saturday unveiled its new tourism policy in the national capital, which promises a series of incentives including tax waivers and subsidies, with a special focus on environmentally-sustainable eco-tourism and religious tourism.
Addressing stakeholders from the tourism and hospitality industry, Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren said the policy is guided by the idea to transform Jharkhand’s image of being a mineral-producing state to a tourism hub.
“Jharkhand has been carrying this image since British time seen through the prism of mining. There is much more to it. People spend lakhs to visit popular tourist places. But you will be surprised to know that we have locations like Netarhat which has climate and vegetation like other hill stations. It will give you a feel of places like Shimla, Kullu and Manali,” said Soren.
Inviting investors to become partners in the tourism sector, which is a big employment generator, Soren said the state will be offering a special package for first movers. “Besides the incentives in the policy, we will give a special package on first come first serve basis to those who make the first move in making investment,” said Soren.
Unveiling the key features of the policy, state tourism secretary Amitabh Kaushal counted religious tourism, economically-sustainable eco-tourism and tribal culture as the focus areas of the policy.
“Religious tourism is a key element of this industry. We have a number of religious centres including those renowned as Hindu, Buddhist and Jainism pilgrim centres. The PM recently visited Baba Baidyanath temple in Deoghar. We have Parasnath in Giridih, which is one of the biggest Jain pilgrim centres. Itkhori in Chatra is important for all three Hindus, Buddhist and Jain pilgrims. Our state is well- connected with rail, road and air routes. We now have two airports after the PM recently inaugurated the Deoghar airport,” said Kaushal.
Unveiling fiscal incentives for the investors, Kaushal said besides a single window clearance system, the state will also provide tax holidays and subsidies.
“We will provide capital investment subsidy up to ₹10 crore, reimbursement of GST up to five year, holding tax waivers for five years, subsidy for captive power plants. We would provide special provisions for the categories like SC/ST, women and divyangs,” added Kaushal.
Officials said the state is looking at a constructive and mutually beneficial partnership between the private and public sector through Built Operate Transfer (BOT), BOOT (Built Own Operate Transfer), BLT(Built Lease Transfer) has been proposed. Procedures to make foreign Investments and technological collaborations by Overseas Corporate Bodies (OCB’s) and NRI’s feasible have also been adopted.
Security, which is a pertinent issue for tourism to thrive in any state, shall be ensured by positioning a Tourist Security Force, 24-hour tourist helpline, and a Central Control Room, an official said.