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Taking the key demand of hospitality and tourism sector ahead, the ministry of tourism has initiated a proposal for inclusion of tourism in the Concurrent List of the Constitution. This move will allow both Centre and the states to formulate policies that could benefit the sector which has faced severe setback due to the covid-19 pandemic.

“The Ministry of Tourism has taken up the issue of inclusion of tourism in the Concurrent List with the ministry concerned, so that tourism can be placed on the national agenda," said the tourism ministry in a reply to a Parliamentary Standing Committee whose report was tabled in Parliament on Tuesday.

Currently, the travel and tourism sector is largely treated as a state subject. However, multiple industry bodies including Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) suggested that the sector needed to be included in the Concurrent list of the constitution so that effective policies can be made to regulate it.

“The Committee takes note of the submission of the Ministry that a proposal for inclusion of tourism in the Concurrent List has been initiated. The Committee sincerely hopes that the proposed measure will provide a level playing field to all the hotels which have been badly hit by the ongoing covid-19 pandemic. The Committee desires to be kept apprised of the efficacy of the new measures proposed," the Parliamentary committee has said in its report tabled on Tuesday.

The committee had earlier said that inclusion of tourism in the Concurrent List will help simplify issues involved with multiple ministries and organisations at central level as well as with the states and UTs.

Talking specifically about hospitality industry, the committee also said it should be apprised of the current status of the proposal of grating the infrastructure status to hotels.

“The Ministry should inform the committee of the bottlenecks being faced in the same and reasons for the delay," the report stated.

Multiple hospitality associations have earlier requested the finance ministry to give infrastructure status to hotels with above 25 crore investment, excluding land. Currently, only those hotel projects with investment of over 200 crore get infrastructure status which limits the benefits to luxury hospitality firms.

The Committee also recommended that levy of taxes on hotels should be rationalized and industrial rates for power supply, water supply, property tax should be charged instead of the commercial rates.

Hotel Association of India (HAI) has welcome initiation of proposal by the ministry of tourism for including tourism in the Concurrent List of Constitution.

“Once implemented, this will also play a key role in post-covid recovery. Tourism activities and products differ from state to state. Placing tourism in the Concurrent list will facilitate seamless coordination. This will perhaps increase the quick implementation of schemes and pan-India face of Indian tourism," HAI said.

The association further added that being in concurrent list is not seen as taking away the powers of the state. “Like other subjects on the Concurrent list it will enable the Centre to bring in harmonious policies for betterment of tourism in consultation with the states," it noted.

Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), which represents more than 1,600 operators for inbound tourists, said that there are multiple reasons for which the association is supporting this recommendation.

'"Firstly, it will lead to rationalisation of multiple levies which are levied on the tourism sector.Besides, it will lead to better coordination between state government and centre government vis a vis tourism promotion policies. Security clearances which are required for visiting some states would be easier to get," said Rajiv Mehra, president, IATO.

Hotel Association of India (HAI) said once implemented, this decision will also play a key role in post-covid recovery.

"Tourism activities and products differ from state to state. Placing tourism in the Concurrent list will facilitate seamless coordination. This will perhaps increase the quick implementation of schemes and pan-India face of Indian tourism," HAI said.

The association added that being in concurrent list is not seen as taking away the powers of the state. “Like other subjects on the Concurrent list it will enable the Centre to bring in harmonious policies for betterment of tourism in consultation with the states," it noted.

Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), which represents more than 1,600 operators for inbound tourists, said that there are multiple reasons for which the association is supporting this recommendation.

'"Firstly, it will lead to rationalisation of multiple levies which are levied on the tourism sector.Besides, it will lead to better coordination between state government and centre government vis a vis tourism promotion policies. Security clearances which are required for visiting some states would be easier to get," said Rajiv Mehra, president, IATO.

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