Tourism ministry to promote India's Buddhist circuit

ANI, Oct 27, 2010

New Delhi, India -- The Ministry of Tourism signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an agency of the World Bank, on Wednesday here to improve and promote the Buddhist tourism circuit in the country.

Thousands of pilgrims and tourists throng Buddhist destinations in the country every year, but most of the places suffer a severe lack of amenities.

Anand Kumar, Joint Secretary in Ministry of Tourism and Rachel Kyte, Vice-President for the IFC's Business Advisory Services, signed the agreement.

Kumari Selja, Minister of Tourism, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, said the support of the government and private sectors would improve Buddhist tours.

"We have intended an agreement in which one of the organisations of World Bank (IFC) is also involved. We would further plan the methods by which we can promote the Buddhist circuit, so that the private sector investments would also take place so that the government and private sector would make this Buddhist circuit, would support the betterment of this Buddhist sector so that people across the country and abroad would visit," Selja said.

The IFC has already supported one tourism project in India's northwestern state of Rajasthan, and the Ministry is hopeful of the same results in the Buddhist circuit, as well.

IFC has partnered with Rajasthan to promote a more dynamic business environment to attract private investment, facilitate regulatory simplification, generate opportunities for small businesses, and create jobs.

India is IFC's largest exposure with about $1 billion in new commitments annually. IFC has had a strong presence in Rajasthan supporting infrastructure and financial private sector players.