Swachata Abhiyan: The ideal way forward!

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.”- Michael Jordan.

After many years, today I feel very contented. This morning when I woke up and was getting through my daily chores, I heard slogans by nearby school children in my residential area, “Thoda toh haath badhao, Bharat ko Swachch banao” which in English means ‘Do your bit to make India clean’.

Cleanliness drive by students

Cleanliness drive by students via avenuemail.in

It was indeed heartening to see those young children imbibing the values of a clean India. Fortunately, our PM Narendra Modi has the vision of a clean India and has stressed it as the way forward. During his speech in USA, he said that he was asked by others to have a vision and he translated the Vision into a clean India vision. As rightly pointed out by PM Modi, every family shall be saving Rs. 6000-7000 a month by saving on on medical expenses due to lack of unhygienic conditions and since bread-earners will not fall sick as frequently due to clean environment, he/she will be able to avoid absenteeism from workplace and earn more. This shall be beneficial to the nation, as it will increase the productivity of the entire nation. The cleanliness drive around religious places shall increase the number of religious tourists and will provide employment opportunities.

Ravi Shankar Prasad during Cleanliness drive

Ravi Shankar Prasad during Cleanliness drive

Ok so here is an exercise for you, take 2 minutes to think of 10 countries that might be the cleanest in the world. When I did the exercise, I could only think of countries such as Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland etc. Were you able to think of any Asian or African country in the 10 cleanest countries list?

In a study done by Forbes.com in 2010 to rank the World’s 10 Cleanest countries, one would expect the list to be full of European countries. However, to my surprise, there were 3 countries in the list that were of smaller size and having lower GDP than India.

Costa Rica: That such a relatively poor and developing country ranks third in the EPI is testament to the natural endowments of Costa Rica, with dense forests, plentiful water and abundant wildlife.

Costa Rica- Forbes 10 cleanest country

Costa Rica- Forbes 10 cleanest country

Mauritius: A tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean to the east of Madagascar, Mauritius is far and away the highest-ranking nation of Sub-Saharan Africa!

Mauritius- Forbes 10 cleanest country

Mauritius- Forbes 10 cleanest country

Cuba: Researchers doubt the veracity of Cuba’s data, which shows higher levels of public health, (including almost universal access to sanitation and clean water) than GDP would suggest.

Cuba- Forbes 10 cleanest country

Cuba- Forbes 10 cleanest country

In my opinion, the above mentioned countries have earned their place in the ranking by making optimum use of the available resources. But do you think that India cannot achieve the same? Is India not endowed with dense forests, water, abundant wildlife? Instead, I feel that rich cultural heritage of India is an add-on.

Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest

Sunset at Radhanagar beach

Sunset at Radhanagar beach

Varanasi ganga

Varanasi ganga

Experience Heritage of India 4.bp.blogspot.com

In my opinion, it is just a matter of mindset and a spark that shall pave the way for a Clean India. The spark has been provided by the Prime Minister, now it is up to us to follow suit and make India more live-able and more like-able.

Let us take the Swachata pledge:

pledge

Take the pledge

1. I shall not spit in public and discourage others from doing so.
2. I shall not litter in public and discourage others from doing so.
3. I shall not urinate in open areas and discourage others from doing so.
4. I shall not encroach area.
5. I shall not write anything on monuments of historic significance and discourage others from doing so.

If each of us follow the pledge, we shall serve ourselves and the community.
Most importantly, we will be able to sleep satisfactorily.

Source:
http://www.forbes.com

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Season of 330 million Gods is here! Incredible India!

The concept of Tourism started with Tirthatan, Deshathan and presently Paryatan. In India, religious tourism has its own significance, as it is generally a high-volume, low-end tourism.

About Navratri:

Navratri in Sanskrit means 9 nights. Shakti or feminine power is celebrated or worshiped during the sacred time of Navratri. Forms of Shakti worshipped during Navratri are: Durga, Bhadrakali, Amba, Annapoorna Devi, Sarvamangala, Bhairavi, Chandika, Lalita, Bhavani and Mookambika.

Navaratri

Navaratri

In Gujarat, Navratri is celebrated with great fervor with men and women dressed up in traditional Gujarati attire play garba every night during the navratri.

Navratri- Gujarat

Navratri- Gujarat

In West Bengal, Durga Puja is celebrated during the same time and images of Durga slaying the demon buffalo Mahishasura are built and displayed in temples.

Durga Puja Festival

Durga Puja Festival

About Dussehra:

Dussehra is the tenth day of Navratri and celebrated as the day Lord Rama defeated the demon king Ravan in Lanka.

Burning Ravana effigy

Burning Ravana effigy

In Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, Dussehra has its origins dating back to 17th century. One won’t see effigies burning. Thus, celebrations are a bit different but nothing less than spectacular. The 10 day event preceding Dussehra begins with the Rathyatra of Lord Rama to the Dhalpur maidaan. Then, the various Gods with processions and bands arrive and the Gaddi shepherds come down from their homes in the hills to sing, dance and praise the gods.

26th Sept Kullu dusshera3

Bed and Breakfast during Dussehra

Foreign tourist particularly from Europe and USA, visit India during this time to witness the celebrations and become part of such celebrations. This is where the importance of Bed and Breakfast comes in as the they like to visit Ramlila, Durga puja pandals, burning of effigies of Ravana, Meghnad and Kumbkaran and have real feeling of existence of 330 million Gods of Incredible India!

Buddha Religious circuit

Keeping in view the tremendous potential of Religious Tourist arrival, Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India, has launched Buddha circuit that includes sites of significance related to the life of the Buddha and is sacred to 500 million Buddhists and also attracts non-Buddhist tourists interested in historical heritage sites such as Bodhgaya in Bihar, Sarnath and Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh, and Lumbini in Nepal.

buddhist circuit

buddhist circuit

Swachata Abhiyan

Small things make big impact! Prime Minister, Narendra Modi launched Cleanliness drive on 2nd October. As Prime Minister, he was advised to expand his vision but he understood the importance of cleanliness and hygiene to attract more tourists besides raising the standard of living.

Swachhata Abhiyan

Swachhata Abhiyan

In India, Dussehra, Diwali and Holi are celebrated with fervor and gaiety. This festive season of Dussehra and Diwali is no less important than Christmas celebration in December. Delhi bustles with activity and one can find frequent traffic jams all over the city but it does not lessen the enthusiasm of the people. In India, the tourism season starts from mid-September and goes on till March in most of the regions.

 

Month Foreign Tourist Arrival, 2013 Change in FTA from previous month %age change in FTA from previous month
September 453561
October 598095 144534 32%
November 733923 135828 22%
December 821581 87658 12%

 

As the data shows, the months of Sept-December account for almost 60% of Foreign Tourist Arrival in India.

As a closing remark, I hope that during this festive season and pro-active governance, there will be an increase in Foreign Tourist and Foreign Exchange Earnings.

Credits:

www.tourism.gov.in | www.wbginvestmentclimate.org |  www.india.com

Interesting facts Bed and Breakfast establishments in Delhi

In a recent survey of around 50 Bed and Breakfast establishments (out of about 350 total B&Bs), some interesting facts were revealed. There is a group of substantial number of domestic tourists who stayed in lower tariff of B&B units at Rs. 1500 to Rs. 2000 per month (equivalent to US 25$ to 34$). These are generally those tourists who came to Delhi for pilgrimage. However, most of domestic and foreign tourists stayed in the tariff range of Rs. 3500 – Rs. 4500 (US 60$ – US 70$) per night. Average stay of tourists was 3 days in Delhi. Most of the B&B units are located in South Delhi particularly in Vasant Kunj, CR Park, Greater Kailash, Hauz Khas, East of Kailash and Kailash Colony. Out of total foreign tourists staying in B&B units, majority are from USA & UK (20%), followed by Australia (13%), Germany (12%) & France (11%). Chinese tourists seem to avoid B&B establishments). These tourists, generally, visit three world heritage sites in Delhi namely, Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Humayun Tomb.

Red Fort in Delhi

Red Fort in Delhi

Qutub Minar in Delhi

Qutub Minar

Humayun's Tomb in Delhi

Humayun’s Tomb

Some of the tourists visit Akshardham Temple, Bahai Temple, Jama Masjid also. Most take taxis or package tours of Delhi as these are cheaper compared to other cities in the world. Unlike cities like Berlin, Amsterdam, London, etc. there are not many souvenir shops in Delhi. However, Dilli Haat is popular among tourists and serves as a good shopping stop for souvenirs, handlooms and handicrafts. While Dilli Haat purchases are less costly, some foreign tourists also prefer to make such purchases from Janpath street shops at slightly higher rates.

Crockery items in Janpath

Crockery items in Janpath courtesy: cpdiary.com

The tourists staying at homestays in Delhi very well know where from to purchase, how to travel within the city and where to eat at reasonable rates. The tourists staying in hotels have lesser choice of interacting with people, though they are also able to avail such information through sites like India Tourism, Delhi Tourism and other websites of local travel agencies. Delhi gets maximum number of tourists in the months from September to February.

These data are generally taken from DTTDC and are incorporated in the author’s Ph.D. thesis and research article “Economics of B&B Scheme of Delhi” published in July’13 issue of SAJTH.