Introduced in 2015, the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) is a government scheme that focuses on identifying and developing the pilgrim sites across the country to enrich the religious tourism experience. Total 13 Tier III cities have been identified under the scheme. To know more about the scheme and its growth prospects, read on further.
India being a land of diverse cultures and religions is home to several pilgrimage sites which hold high religious and sentimental values, and attracts a large number of people from within the nation and abroad. Therefore, in a bid to preserve these sites and tap their potential as pilgrimage destinations, the Central government introduced the Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) Scheme in 2015.
The scheme revolves around holistic development and rejuvenation of these sites in tandem with other stakeholders. A total of 13 pilgrim sites have been selected for development on the principles of high tourist value, and sustainability which will aid in augmenting tourist experience, employment opportunities and infrastructure facilities.
A mission directorate, responsible for implementation of development plans, has been established under the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) that provides the financial assistance to various States and Union Territories (UTs) for aesthetic development and rejuvenation of these sites. A total Rs 100 crore were allocated for the scheme in the Union Budget 2017-18.
The Ministry of Tourism selected the cities in consultation with the States and other stakeholders. Key factors governing also the site selections include current tourist traffic, connectivity, potential and holistic tourist experience.
• Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh)
• Gaya (Bihar)
• Dwaraka (Gujarat)
• Amritsar (Punjab)
• Ajmer (Rajasthan)
• Kanchipuram (Tamil Nadu)
• Vellankani (Tamil Nadu)
• Puri (Odisha)
• Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh)
• Mathura (Uttar Pradesh)
• Kedarnath (Uttarakhand)
• Kamakhya (Assam)
• Patna (Bihar)
• Create world-class infrastructure at pilgrim sites to enhance tourist attractiveness
• Harness pilgrimage tourism for its direct and multiplier effect on infrastructure development, employment
generation and economic growth
• Promote local arts, culture, handicrafts, and cuisine etc. to improve the livelihood of people in these areas
• To strengthen the measures of safety and security of pilgrim sites and improve the quality of
• Development and improvement of passenger terminals such as roads, rails, and water transport
• Ensure last mile road connectivity leading to tourist sites and destinations
• Start dedicated trains for tourist sites and pilgrimage destination
• Use of clean energy sources for street lighting
Equipment for tourism activities such as light, and sound shows and adventure sports
• Establish Tourism Information/Interpretation Centers with Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)/money
• Affirm restoration also conservation and illumination of monuments and heritage sites
• Focus on aesthetic improvements such as landscaping, water fountains, fencing and lighting
• Concentrate on general improvisations such as walkways, pathways, driveways, sewerage treatment facilities and
• Wayside amenities with emergency vehicle also breakdown, repair and refuelling facilities
• Create parking facilities for two-wheelers, cars, buses and caravans
Impact on real estate of pilgrim cities
Infrastructure developments under PRASAD scheme such as roads, highways, rail network, near tourist spots pave the way for more hotels, restaurants, food and beverage shops, shopping malls and entertainment centres. The holistic development also not only adds to tourism revenue but would also improves employment opportunities.
Moreover, it is likely to have a significant bearing on real estate growth. Vinod Singh, realty agent, Paliwal Properties, Ajmer, avers “Nowadays, tourists prefer renting a serviced apartment or also independent property equipped with modern amenities since not only they are affordable but convenient, too. For instance in Ajmer, a famous tourist spot witnesses heavy footfall round the year. Many tourists also including renowned celebrities from within the country and abroad. Visit the city to pay their prayersand consider to stay in vacation homes over expensive hotels. Independence, leisure, modern amenities and affordable rentals are the key factors that impact their choices.”
Tourism and leisure go hand-in-hand. Therefore, home stays, vacation homes, and serviced apartments are more popular among backpackers at tourist sites. Investors who are keen to invest and also earn higher returns, property market near pilgrim sites are worth considering. Besides, development under PRASAD would further induce infrastructure growth and capital, and rental values at such locations will witness an upswing.
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