Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Government is planning to announce an incentive for house-owners willing to opt for the new "Incredible India Bed and Breakfast Scheme" under which they would not have to pay commercial rates for electricity and water, Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni said here on Thursday.

Speaking at the launch of the Total Tourism India Report by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Visa International, Ms. Soni said tourism had been recognised as an infrastructure building sector and hence the Delhi Government has taken the initiative. "We are working closely with the Delhi Government on the scheme. It has promised to introduce this in the Delhi Assembly by March 31," she said.

The Indian Railways is also planning to introduce five new trains for tourists, the Minister informed. "We are planning to introduce a second Palace on Wheels as it is very popular," she said.

There would be a train for the Buddhist circuit as well, she said, adding that the Railways and the Ministry of Tourism were working to connect places of cultural interests and to upgrade their respective facilities.

Pointing out that the Indian embassies abroad have been asked to outsource counsellor visa staff during the peak periods, Ms. Soni said instructions have been issued to missions overseas that visas should not take more than 48 hours to process.