India climbs 12 notches on Travel and Tourism Competitive Index 2017

NEW DELHI: Crediting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship Swachh Bharat Mission with being one of the key reasons for India to have improved its rankings on the Travel and Tourism Competitive Index 2017, Union minister for culture and tourism, Mahesh Sharma, said on May 3 tourist experience in India has improved as a result of greater cleanliness in and around tourist areas.
India is among the 15 most-improved countries of the World on the global index and has moved up 12 notches from 52 in 2015 to Global rank 40 on the index this year. Spain remains on the top of the Index of 136 countries, while Yemen is ranked 136. Sharma said, “We are going beyond the idea of physical cleanliness and attempting to achieve through PM Modi’s flagship scheme the dream Mahatma Gandhi had and which couldn’t be fulfilled in 70 years. Our initiative has also led to India improving its performance on the World Tourism and Security Indices this year.” The minister added that the government’s initiative to make 116 ticketed heritage monuments polythene free has now also been extended to less frequented monuments across India.
Making the announcement at a joint press conference of the ministries of culture and tourism, and drinking water and sanitation, Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar also said the drinking water and sanitation ministry will set up a ‘Rashtriya Swachhta Kendra’ under the Swachh Bharat Mission at Rajghat in the national capital. The office will be set up to the mark the centenary year of the Mahatma Gandhi’s Champaran Satyagrah, and will showcase the government’s efforts and achievement in the area of total sanitation.
Secretary, department of culture, NK Sinha also said the Swachh Paryatan mobile application launched by the ministry in February this year to ensure cleanliness around heritage monuments will be extended to create alerts about insanitary conditions in different parts of the cities as well.
Listing the government’s efforts in the area of cleanliness since the Modi government was sworn to power in 2014, drinking water and sanitation minister Tomar said, “As a part of the government’s SBM initiative, we have built 4 crore toilets between 2014 and 2017, and created 1.94 lakh open defecation free villages and 135 ODF districts. While states like Sikkim, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh are already ODF states, many others are on the verge of being declared.”
Tomar also said that while the government was facing some concerns over availability of space for building toilets in more densely popular urban areas, it was emphasizing the construction of community, public toilets. He also said the ministry had, in tandem with state governments and local administrations, built 3950 toilets of the targeted 4500 toilets to be built along the 52 districts of India that are settled on the banks of Ganga.

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