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PRASHAD Scheme: Progress and Challenges



  Mar 12, 2024

PRASHAD Scheme: Progress and Challenges



The Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASHAD) scheme, initiated by the Ministry of Tourism in 2014, aims at enhancing infrastructure and facilities at key religious and heritage sites across India. Despite its broad objectives and the sanctioning of 46 projects over the past decade, the scheme has encountered significant delays, with less than half of these projects completed within the planned timeline.

Key Insights from the PRASHAD Scheme:

1. Scope and Objective: Launched with the intent to augment infrastructure at pilgrimage sites, the scheme has focused on improving amenities like parking, pathways, toilets, and tourist information centres, aiming to boost tourism.

2. Geographical Spread and Selection Criteria: A total of 73 sites were identified based on factors such as footfall, cultural significance, and existing development level. Projects span across 26 states and Union Territories, emphasizing the scheme’s national scope.

3. Financial Allocation and Project Sanctioning: With an allocated budget of Rs 1,632 crore, the scheme has sanctioned projects encompassing diverse religious sites, including Hindu temples, Islamic shrines, and sites important to other faiths, showcasing India’s rich cultural tapestry.

4. Challenges and Delays: The implementation faced hurdles like delayed approvals from authorities, land acquisition issues, and restrictions due to heritage site proximities. These challenges highlight the complexities of undertaking infrastructure projects in sensitive areas.

5. Parliamentary Scrutiny and Recommendations: The parliamentary committee’s report shed light on the slow progress, attributing delays to bureaucratic hurdles and the COVID-19 pandemic, underscoring the need for enhanced coordination and efficiency.

Conclusion

The PRASHAD scheme represents a significant effort towards enhancing India’s pilgrimage and heritage sites as tourist destinations. However, its execution underscores the intricate balance required between development aspirations and the preservation of cultural heritage. Addressing the identified challenges could pave the way for more timely completions of projects, contributing to the scheme’s ultimate success in boosting tourism and preserving India’s spiritual and cultural heritage.


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