National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY)

National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY)

The Culture and Heritage of India are its souls. Take away this from my country, and not much is left. The tradition of India is what defines it, and it is exactly what separates it out from any other country. But it is only sad that the traditional Indian cities, which are the epitome of this cultural heritage of India have been in a state of neglect for decades.

National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY)

The National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) is an ambitious project of the central government, which aims at rejuvenating the heritage cities of India and to boost the tourism activities as well as the economic prosperity of these cities. Under the scheme, a comprehensive, time-bound plan for the redevelopment of each of the 12 selected heritage cities will be devised, and implemented with the cooperation of the local bodies, to improve the physical, institutional, economic as well as social infrastructure of these cities.

The Need for the Scheme

Being the land of some of the most ancient civilisations on earth, and the melting pot of a hundred different cultures; being home to a countless number of heritage monuments and sites of historical and cultural significance — all this has not helped India score at least a name-saving ranking, when it comes to the number of international tourist arrivals. India ranks a lowly, embarrassing 40th.

Reasons are many and are known to the world. From the basic sanitation and cleanliness to the supporting infrastructure like connectivity and communications. From the welcoming attitude of the locals to the maintenance and upkeep of the heritage monuments. Neglect of these little factors is the reason that has led to the downfall of the heritage cities of India. Even information about these cultural gold mines of India is not easily and abundantly available. Certainly, ordinary urban development strategies can not be adopted when it comes to the development of these heritage-tagged cities. This has been the mistake of the governments so far. The special needs and holistic developmental strategies have been neglected, and we have never got the desired results. This is exactly what the HRIDAY Scheme aims to focus on — special developmental models for the special needs of the heritage cities.

Heritage Cities Covered Under the Scheme

Provided the richness of heritage that India has, transforming hundred of cities at once seems impractical. To make the scheme result driven, and see the outcomes in the few coming years, initially the scheme will cover 12 heritage cities of the country, on a pilot basis.

The cities which will go an infrastructural revamp in the first phase of the scheme include:

1. Ajmer

2. Amravati

3. Amritsar

4. Badami

5. Dwarka

6. Gaya

7. Kanchipuram

8. Mathura

9. Puri

10. Varanasi

11. Velankanni

12. Warangal

Duration of the Scheme

The HRIDAY scheme was launched by the Ministry of Urban Development, GOI in December 2014, and is expected to be completed by march 2018, spanning roughly four years. The scheme will be implemented in a mission mode.

Key Components of the Scheme: Areas of Focus

The HRIDAY scheme will primarily focus on four key components for the holistic development of the heritage cities: Physical Infrastructure, Institutional Infrastructure, Economic Infrastructure & Social Infrastructure.

1. Physical Infrastructure

The physical infrastructure of a destination is the first thing noticed by a tourist. And hence, it is something which has to be at it’s best. The focus of the scheme will be to ensure world-class civic infrastructures like safe drinking water, sanitation, roads and public transport, parking and last mile connectivity. Museums, heritage walks, religious trails, street furniture including shifting of hanging wires, poles and transformers will also be worked upon under this head of the scheme.

2. Institutional Infrastructure

When a tourist goes and interacts with the institutional environment of a city, an impression is formed. Websites, IEC and Outreach Material such as City maps and brochures, Digital Display /Information Board will be the point of focus here. Development of Institutional Infrastructure will also include the tourist assistance booths, hotels, motels and night shelters, the tourist guides and other service providers.

The concerned establishments in this part of the chain will be provided proper support, training, and guidance wherever necessary, to put in place a supportive and tourist-friendly institutional infrastructure.

3. Economic Infrastructure

One of the primary objectives of the scheme is to boost the local economy of these heritage cities, by promoting them as world-class towns and friendly tourist destinations. New and vivid economic establishments like souvenir archives, local handloom galleries, shopping complexes etc. will be facilitated, along with the marketing, promotion, and development of local heritage industry including women managed cottage industries.

With the expected scope of growth in the economy, an adequately responsive economic infrastructure also becomes essential. Digitization of payments, online ticketing, e-commerce and simplification of other economic processes will also be covered under the scheme.

4. Social Infrastructure

The development of the social infrastructure of the heritage cities will include the upliftment of the overall quality of life of the local citizens, through a planned elimination of slums, discouraging and subsequently eliminating the ill practices like begging and child labor. The other aspect to be covered under the social head is the law and order situation of the heritage cities, reduction in crime rates and elimination of other similar social evils. The aim will be to create a favorable, positive social environment, true to the essence and nature of these heritage cities.

Outcomes of the HRIDAY Scheme

As it is evident, the HRIDAY scheme does not merely focus on the infrastructural upgradations of the concerned heritage cities but is inclusive of the holistic development of all the associated entities. These entities can be the local traders and service providers, craftsmen and artisans, public amenities, connectivity, and accessibility. This span of the scheme covers the socio-economic upliftment of the local community, improvement in the situation of law and order, as well as the overall service delivery systems and look, feel of the city itself.

The indicative outcomes, which are expected to be self-evident by the end of HRIDAY are as following:

1. Clean and Improved sanitized environment

2. Improved basic urban infrastructure at existing and emerging tourist, religious and heritage destinations and gateways

3. Improved sanitation standards at natural and cultural tourist attractions with convenience and safety for visitors

4. Properly conserved, revitalized and beautified heritage monuments

5. Greater participation by local communities in tourism-related economic and livelihood activities

6. Heritage resources mainstreamed with city systems and city economy.

7. Improvement in the service level benchmarks indicators for urban service delivery

8. Increase in the inflow of the tourist to cities

9. Increase in the duration of stay of the tourist in the town

10. Improvement in social safety and reduction in crime

11. Substantial improvement in local economy and quality of life of its communities

Project Progress: Status Report

The scheme defines a very transparent system for the evaluation of the progress of the projects in each of the 12 individual cities being revamped.

There are three basic stages in the progress of the project:

1. City HRIDAY Plan (CHP)

2. Readiness of DPRs

3. Sanctioned Amount

As of now, the City HRIDAY Plan for each of the cities has been finalized and approved. The other two stages are at different levels of progress, depending upon the scale and duration of the projects being undertaken in individual cities. All the projects are expected to be completed by November 2018.

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