Integrated Plan For Developing Buddhist Circuits in UP and Bihar: Tourism Ministry

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Integrated Plan For Developing Buddhist Circuits in UP and Bihar: Tourism Ministry

File photo: A Buddhist devotee offers prayers at a temple during the Buddha Purnima Festival to commemorate the 2558th birth anniversary of the Buddha in Kolkata

New Delhi:  The tourism ministry on Thursday launched a comprehensive plan with the World Bank for the development of Buddhist heritage circuits in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar that is estimated to create 10,000 jobs and indirect employments.

Tourism and Culture Minister Shripad Yesso Naik with the tourism ministers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and other officials launched the strategy document Investing in the Buddhist Circuit here.

This comes immediately after Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his maiden budget allocated Rs.500 crore for development of five tourist circuits, the Buddhist circuit being one of them.

The total cost of the project will be Rs.4.5 crore, of which the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an arm of the World Bank, will contribute 40 percent of the amount (Rs.1.8 crore).

The tourism ministry will contribute 50 percent of the total amount (Rs.2.25 crore), and the two state governments will offer five percent each (Rs.22.50 lakh each).

"This is a proud moment for us. We will take at least two months to put everything in place and start working on the development of the circuit," said Mr Naik.

According to Onno Ruhl, World Bank's country director for India, they chose to work on this project because it would provide jobs in those states that are in dire need of finding better ways of employing their people.

"We as an organisation fight poverty, but to get people out of poverty, people need jobs. If I compare India with other countries, it has potential but that is not matching to what the world is offering," said Mr Ruhl.

"Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are very important because people have less income and a project like this can create jobs," he added.

He elaborated on how the focus would be on creating better roads, hotels and improving basic amenities for the pilgrims and tourists.

"There will be many direct and indirect employments. Local communities will be involved and we estimate creation of around 10,000 jobs," said an IFC official.

Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir, Vaishali (Bihar), Sarnath, Kushinagar, and Kaushambi (Uttar Pradesh) have been identified among other sites to be developed in the first phase.

These iconic routes and sites are places where the Buddha spent his time, grew up and delivered his first sermon.





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