(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
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
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
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
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.