• Tourists visit the Taj Mahal in the northern Indian city of Agra June 29, 2007.Reuters file
  • Beautifully lit Borra Caves are located in the Ananthagiri hills of the Araku valley in Andhra Pradesh.Wikimedia commons
  • Tourists walk inside the Meharangarh Fort at the historic town of Jodhpur in the desert Indian state of Rajasthan January 14, 2009 [Representational Image].Reuters File
  • A tourist takes pictures of erotic Hindu sculptures in the Indian town of Khajuraho in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh Nov. 18,2003.Reuters file

India's Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned 25 projects worth Rs. 2,048 crore under the Swadesh Darshan (domestic sightseeing) scheme to as many as 21 states. The aim of the scheme is to position tourism as a major engine of economic growth and job creation.

The states and the Union territories include Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Kerala, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura, the ministry said in a statement.

For north-eastern states, the ministry has sanctioned nine projects worth Rs. 821 crore, which would cover the eight states. In addition, for the tribal areas, the ministry has sanctioned three projects worth Rs. 282 crore for Nagaland, Chhattisgarh and Telangana.

The Swadesh Darshan scheme was launched in 2014-15. The objective of the scheme is to develop theme based tourism circuits across the country on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.

Under this, 13 Thematic Circuits have been identified. Some of the circuits are: North-East India circuit, Buddha circuit, Himalayan circuit, Coastal circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.

Some of the other aims of the Swadesh Darshan scheme are:

- Developing world class infrastructure in varied thematic circuits and pilgrimage sites.
- Promoting India as a global brand and a world class tourist destination.
- Showcasing the full potential of a range of unique products.
- Providing complete tourism experience by enhancing tourist attractions.
- To include involvement of local communities (pro-poor approach).