(The Gist of Kurukshetra) RURAL TOURISM: AN ASSET TO NON- FARM SECTOR [JULY-2019]
(The Gist of Kurukshetra) RURAL TOURISM: AN ASSET TO NON- FARM SECTOR
RURAL TOURISM: AN ASSET TO NON- FARM SECTOR
- India -third residing is population predominantly in rural areas and a National 70 rural per country cent Sample workforce with Survey two data shows that more than one-fifth of rural households with self- employment in agriculture have income less than the poverty line. Interventions to enhance farm productivity are easier said than done, as they require consistent long- term efforts. Rural economy constitutes 46 per cent of national income.
- A NITI Aayog paper published in the year 2017 states that, contrary to the common perception about predominance of agriculture in rural economy, about two- third of rural income is now generated in non-Agriculturai activities. Rural India is, therefore, witnessing a transition from agriculture to more productive non-farm sectors. Share of agriculture in rural output is merely 39 per cent, rest is contributed by the manufacturing, construction and service sectors. An attempt is made here to explain the role of rural tourism as part of non farm sector in Improving ‘overall’ rural Income.
Importance of Rural Non-Farm Sector
- Rural non farm activities may differ from one country to another and also from one geographical tone to another. Scholars suggest that even within the same country, the proportion and types of activities may vary among regions. Non-farm sector is being accorded wide recognition in recent years for the following reasons:
- It may facilitate employment growth.
- It may prevent many rural people from migrating to urban areas.
- It offers more remunerative activities to supplement agricultural income.
- It provides a means for the rural poor to cope when farming fails.
Mapping the Rural Resources for Tourism
- Villages in India have a facet that makes them unique. A survey to identify such resources may be started in order to showcase the attractions and transform them into tourism products. Though each of the 52 commissioned rural sites of MoT has a USP (rural resource), it has attempted to divide the rural resources into three categories:
- Resources by virtue of geographical and climatic characteristics of the region, flora and fauna, rivers, landscape, scenic beauty etc.
- Aspects of the rural culture like village folklore, handicrafts, textile products, social bonds etc.
- Farm produce and practices like sowing, harvesting etc.
Capacity Building and Government Schemes
- Community mobilization and building capacities in rural areas are very important as rural tourism can provide livelihoods to those who can participate in tourism, whether in hospitality or in craft or in any other allied services that a tourist requires.
- Hospitality and accommodative spirit are the core virtues of rural India; a basic orientation with respect to operational aspects of tourism is enough to make villagers embrace tourists. Those educated in the village may be imparted fundamental technological skills (use of smart phones in execution of tourism) so that they can connect with the tourists before and after the visits and also with the various service providers in the supply chain.
- Schemes of central government like National Rural Livelihood Mission, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushal Yojana and similar schemes of the state governments can offer significant help in conducting training programs in hospitality, housekeeping, catering, basic accounting etc. Hunar Se Rozgar Scheme and regional level tourist guides training programme executed by MoT can also assist in capacity building. As rural tourism sites are state specific, therefore assistance of tourism departments in various state universities can also be taken for imparting skills.
Co-ordination among Stakeholders
- For tourism to thrive, there has to be sync between attractions (rural resources), accessibility, accommodation and amenities. Mere possession of a resource does not guarantee tourism promotion automatically. Therefore, necessary infrastructural facilities such as transport to access the rural destinations, facilities to stay, healthcare facilities, ATMs, telecommunication facilities, internet connectivity are equally essential. Scheme of e-tourist visa that allows visa approval on the email through e-application within 72 hours of the application has eased foreign tourist entry in India.
- Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims towards image building of India as a dean and hygienic destination, Hodka Village Resort in Rann of Kutch, Gujarat is one of the most successfully implemented rural tourism initiatives. Hodka story signifies the role of the Village Tourism Committee (Paryatan Samiti) headed by the District Collector of the concerned rural tourism site. There is a need to make Panchayat functionaries aware about the concept and benefits of the rural tourism. Support from State institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and Tourism Department of State Governments can act as catalyst.
- There is an urgent improve the economic scenario in rural India to have a sustainable growth model for the country as a whole. Rural tourism resources could be instrumental in bringing out the much needed turnaround of rural communities and at the same time provide visitors a wholesome tourism experience.
- When developed to its fullest potential, it could provide jobs to villagers who otherwise are increasingly migrating to cities. It can revive many traditional crafts which are dying a slow death. Socially, it can open rural mindset to new thoughts and ideas from the outside world. Urban areas are characterised by monotony, fatigue, job stress, pollution; rural tourism can act as stress buster.
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