World Heritage sites: India
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World Heritage sites: India and tourism
The tourism industry has made a strong recovery after suffering through pandemic-induced lockdowns and travel restrictions. In the latest Union Budget, the government has allocated 2,400 crore to the tourism sector, signiﬁcantly higher than the 1,343 crore revised estimate for the previous year. Under the new “Dekho Apna Desh” programme, it is set to promote and develop 50 destinations to boost domestic tourism. Recent answers to questions in Parliament show that both footfall and revenues speciﬁcally at Unesco-recognised World Heritage sites are gradually rising, though expenditure on maintaining these sites is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, ﬁnds Richa Gandhi
Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka Home To Most Centrally Protected Monuments
➤ Most of India’s centrally protected monuments, which are administered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), are concentrated in the northern and western regions. There are 3,696 such monuments across India, with more than 20% in UP alone.
➤ In 2013, a government report had found that 92 protected monuments were ‘missing’. ASI has so far traced 68 of these. The 24 untraced monuments are spread across 10 states, with 11 just in UP. Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan have two missing monuments each.
World Heritage Sites Yet To Fully Return To Pre-Pandemic Levels
India has 24 cultural heritage sites across 12 states on the Unesco World Heritage site list. Though the pandemic hurt footfall and revenues at these sites, they are gradually rebounding. For instance, in the ﬁrst half of FY22-23, footfall had crossed 88 lakh, well short of the 2. 5 crore visitors in all of FY19-20 but close to the FY21-22 tally of 1. 25 crore. Despite the pandemic, revenues from these sites exceeded expenditure in each of the last four years barring FY20-21. In addition operational expenditures, the government has also allocated a Rs 212 crore this year for the preservation and conservation of World Heritage sites.
Maharashtra, Delhi’s World Heritage Sites Top Funding Recipients
Maharashtra’s Ajanta, Ellora and Elephanta caves received the most funding among India’s World Heritage sites at 32. 5 crore, followed by Delhi’s Red Fort, Qutub Minar and Humayun’s Tomb at 30 crore. Despite being home to some of India’s most visited World Heritage sites, UP received only 20 crore in funding.