The Ministry of Tourism has identified 50 circuits for development of tourism. These circuits/destinations cover major and relevant tourist places and attractions and have a judicious mix of culture, heritage, spiritualism and ecotourism to give tourists a holistic perspective of the country. Port Blair-Neil Havelock-Little Andaman (Andaman and Nicobar), Kashmir circuit (Jammu and Kashmir), Desert circuit (Rajasthan), Nature Tourism circuit (West Bengal), Braj-Agra circuit (Uttar Pradesh) and Gangtok (Sikkim) are the circuits identified among others.
The Ministry has formulated a plan scheme SWADESH DARSHAN for integrated development of tourist circuits around specific themes. The five circuits identified under this scheme are: Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit and North-East Circuit.
The Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to various State Governments/Union Territory Administrations for various tourism projects prioritised every year in consultation with them subject to availability of funds, inter-se priority, liquidation of pending utilisation certificates against the funds released earlier and adherence to the scheme guidelines.
In 2012-13, a total of 136 projects were sanctioned to the states and an amount of Rs 929 crores was sanctioned to them for these projects. In 2013-14, the number of projects sanctioned to the states was 261 and an amount of Rs 1,801 crores was sanctioned to them. In 2014-15 (till December, 2014) a total of 53 projects were sanctioned to the states and a sum of Rs 333 crores was sanctioned to them for these projects.
This information was given by the Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma, in a reply to unstarred question in Lok Sabha.