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Make tourism Central subject, increase Plan outlay: IACC

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Feb. 2

THE Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) has called for increasing the Plan outlay for the tourism sector to Rs 2,000 crore in the forthcoming Budget.

In Budget 2005-06, the tourism sector was allotted Rs 796 crore which it considers inadequate for tourism promotion in the country.

Taking into consideration the aggressive marketing that has to be pursued for packaging tourist destinations in the country, the allocation for tourism in the coming Budget should be enhanced to at least Rs 2,000 crore, the chamber said.

It has also suggested abolition of State luxury taxes imposed on hotel rooms.

The tax is imposed by different States at different rates, varying from five per cent to 20 per cent.

If the tax cannot be abolished because of the revenue loss, there should be a uniform tax of five per cent and that should be on the actual rate, it added.

A uniform policy on tourism can be pursued only if the Centre is empowered to legislate on tourism-related matters. (Tourism is currently under the State List.)

It is necessary that a statement of intent for bringing tourism under either the Concurrent List or the Central List be spelt out in the Budget 2006-07 to pave the way for the balanced growth of the tourism sector, the chamber said.

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