Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has presented the Budget 2021 on Monday. What was in it for the tourism industry?
Will I be stamped as abnormal if I say Budget 2021 is the worst? Because many dignitaries go on clapping FM and the stock market was flying to the sky.
Yesterday, when FM stated that the budget will have everything for all stressed sectors, I thought she was talking sense in a humanitarian way. Now I understand that either she was teasing the entire tourism Industry or she has no clue about the stressed sectors in India during this Pandemic.
As long as I understood, there is absolutely no mention of tourism in today’s budget speech. There are two possibilities for this missing. I doubt a case of dementia with the FM as she might have forgotten the tourism Industry as no GST was coming to her kitty for quite some time. Otherwise what our National leaders claiming in their great representations and meetings are big bogus. In both situations, the ground level people in tourism has a black day.
A few weeks back, when the Hon. High Court Judge in Kerala was hearing a writ petition filed by KTM and few tour operators, the Central Government Counsel was asked to explain why he could not file an affidavit on the petitioners’ prayers. The immediate answer was that the FM is busy with budget preparations and there is everything in the budget to address the prayers of the petitioners.
Now we are all waiting for the learned counsel coming back on 03rd Feb to appear before the same court on this case.
How can a nation’s Finance Minister bring out a budget and that too during the highest hit pandemic, without addressing the big cries from an industry most hit and represents one of the biggest employment generating sectors? Isn’t it like discarding one of the highest GST contributors? What kind of identity these taxpayers are being given by a nation? How such an attitude will prompt more people to pay taxes?
The biggest question now is what is the way forward for the tourism sector? How do the lost jobs being resumed especially when nobody even tells when the Government is planning to resume visas and international flights?
We will see the biggest fall of Indian tourism in its history. Professionals will never come back to tourism. Good guides and drivers will leave the Industry. India will be known as the worst tourism destination for diluted quality and unprofessional services. Shame for India!
Nitin Gadkari’s vehicle scrapping policy may be inaugurated with thousands of tourism vehicles parked on roadsides without paying taxes or insurance renewals. While the government cries loudly for the nation, they should understand that without people, there is no nation. Now people factor in Indian tourism is completely scrapped by the inaction of the government.
How will honorable tourism minister Prahlad Singh Patel explain his words at BRICS Tourism Ministers’ Conference that he has brought out a stimulus package for tourism especially to sustain the tourism jobs?
Indian travel fraternity has called for a national protest on 05th February to express the concerns of the industry. This is just the beginning as there are 50 million people who are dependant on tourism in India.
(George Scaria is the Managing Director of Keralavoyages India Pvt Ltd, a Travelife Certified Tour Operator.)
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