Comments on the XI Five Year Plan’s Tourism Report
This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the Planning Commission’s XI Five Year Plan’s Tourism Report. Whileappreciating certain positive trends in the Report, we appeal to the Planning Commission to consider an approach that is more broad-based and inclusive. Concerns such as, who grows, who benefits, who is harmed by tourism’sunrestricted and unregulated growth, is tourism non-exploitative, is it socially just and equitable and are its processesof planning and implementation democratic, need to be addressed if we are to see tourism in the XI Plan truly inclusive and people centred. This, we believe, will do justice to an activity that is ultimately based on people – thetourist and the communities visited. We highlight the insufficient attention paid to impacts tourism has had onspecific constituencies (like women, children, tribals, dalits, other minorities), labour issues, the lack of strategies toensure sustainable tourism, the role of government in tourism infrastructure development, and the need to bring insharper perspectives and positions on ecotourism and climate change.
I. Constitution of the Working Group and Steering Committee on Tourism for the XI Five Year Plan
At the outset, we would like to comment on the membership of the two important bodies – the Working Group (WG)and the Steering Committee (SC) constituted by the Planning Commission to work on the Tourism Report for the XIFive Year Plan. There are commonalities and important differences in membership to the two bodies that we wouldlike to highlight.a. Central Government Representatives: Largest Representation in WG and SC
Both the WG and SC have significant membership of senior bureaucrats of different departments/ministriesthat the Planning Commission has considered important to input into the tourism sector report. The WorkingGroup has 24 bureaucrats from different central ministries like Tourism, Culture, Civil Aviation, Finance,Environment and Forests Home Affairs, External Affairs, Shipping and Road Transport & Highways. Incomparison, the Steering Committee has 12 bureaucrats some from the same ministries and a few additionalones like Youth & Sports Affairs and Revenue.
Representatives of important central government public corporations like the Tourism Finance Corporation of India, Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), Air India, Indian Airlines in the WG with only thelatter two in the SC.
In both the WG and SC, membership from central-level bureaucrats forms the highest proportion within theGroup and Committee – (24/46 in the WG) and (11/31 in the SC). It must be appreciated that, by invitingsenior government officials from a wide range of relevant central-level ministries and departments, thePlanning Commission has made efforts to factor in the cross-linkages and interdependencies that characterisetourism development.
However, it is disheartening to see the absence of membership from certain other central-level ministries whoalso are important stakeholders in the process of tourism development in this country. These include theMinistry of Commerce, the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs. TheMinistry of Commerce negotiates on behalf of the country international multilateral, regional and bilateraltrade and investment agreements where, in recent years, tourism has been an important area of negotiationswithin the GATS ( The General Agreement on Trade in Services). It is difficult to comprehend the absence of the MoC in the Tourism Working Group Membership. The Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and Ministry of Panchayat Raj, have as theirconstituencies, some important sections of our society who are deeply impacted by tourism development –women, children tribal/indigenous communities (including nomadic and denotified tribes), dalits and peoplewith disabilities. By virtue of their social, economic and cultural vulnerability, and consistent marginalisationthese constituencies have been impacted by tourism – more negatively than positively. This has for instance,been highlighted in the reports of the Working Group and Steering Committee on Women and ChildDevelopment for the XI Five Year Plan. It is critical that these important Ministries are members of TourismWG and SC and that processes of inviting their experiences and views are taken into account.b. State Government Representatives: Missing from the Steering Committee
In a progressive step, the Planning Commission has invited representatives of the Tourism Departments of five states – Kerala, Rajasthan, Orissa, Assam and Maharashtra into the Working Group.