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The number of Foreign Tourist Visits (FTVs) to North Eastern States has increased from 66,302 to 84,820 in 2013 and further to 1,18,552 in 2014. Funds to the tune of Rs. 144.68 crores have been released for North Eastern Region in 2014-15. Rs. 34.68 crores more than actual sanctioned amount of Rs. 110 crores in 2014-15. A total of 10 per cent of the plan allocation of the Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India is earmarked for North Eastern States. Of the funds allocated to the Ministry.

The Ministry of Tourism has launched two new plan schemes - “Swadesh Darshan for integrated development of Circuits around specific themes” and “PRASAD for National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive”. They are Coastal Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, North East India Circuit, Himalayan Circuit and Krishna Circuit identified under Swadesh Darshan Scheme initially. Seven more circuits viz. Desert Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wild Life Circuit and Rural Circuit have recently been identified under the scheme. Under PRASAD scheme 12 cities have been identified. Kamakhaya in Assam features under PRASAD scheme.

Further, following initiatives are also been taken by the Government to promote tourism in North Eastern Region Provision of complimentary space to the North Eastern States in India Pavilions set up at major International Travel Fairs and Exhibitions; 100 per cent Central financial assistance for organising fairs and festivals is allowed to the North Eastern States; Ministry of Tourism, as part of its on-going activities, annually releases print, electronic, online and outdoor media campaigns in the international and domestic markets, under the Incredible India brand-line, to promote various tourism destinations and products of the country, including the lesser known destinations which have tourism potential. The Ministry of Tourism has also undertaken special campaigns on NE Region on TV channels to promote tourism in the regions.

Moreover, the International Tourism Mart (ITM) is organised annually with the objective of showcasing the largely untapped tourism potential of North East region in the domestic and international markets. The project “Integrated Cable-Car and Lakeside Tourism Development Project at Loktak Lake, Manipur” has been sanctioned during 2013-14 for the State Government of Manipur at an amount of Rs.20.35 crores under Large Revenue Generating Scheme. Under this scheme, funds are allocated under Public-Private-Partnership.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Mahesh Sharma in reply to an unstarred question in Lok Sabha.

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