Other States

Maharashtra introduces agro-tourism policy

The Maharashtra Cabinet on Sunday cleared an agro-tourism policy aimed at reviving the tourism sector and providing support to the rural economy.

In a meeting held on the eve of the monsoon session of the State Legislature, the Cabinet cleared the policy which the government said would be an added income to farmers and also an enjoyable experience to tourists.

“The Cabinet passed the agro-tourism policy of Maharashtra. This will invigorate the rural sector and agricultural practitioners with a steady source of an alternative income and an alternative employment through tourism like farm stays. Local cuisine and cultural aspects can be enjoyed by visitors,” State’s Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray said.

Taking the lead

He said although many countries around the world have such enabling policies to assist tourists with homestays in the farms and orchards, Maharashtra has taken the lead to in this regard in India.

“Our department is thankful to the Cabinet for having approved this formally. This policy will be an enabler for those looking to travel, enjoy the rustic outdoors, spend time on farms, and indulge in eco-friendly tourism, organic local flavours, and seasonal fruit picking,” he said.

Rural development through agro-tourism, ensuring market to agricultural produce, encouraging agriculture-related businesses, providing employment to young women from rural areas, organising exhibitions of folk art and traditions, and providing an experience of pollution-free and nature-friendly atmosphere are few of the objectives of the said policy.

Loans and tax benefits

Individual farmers, agriculture cooperative societies, agriculture research centres, agriculture universities, or farmer companies can set up agro-tourism centres. The Tourism Department will certify these centres after which they can be eligible for loans and other tax benefits.

The requirements to register under the policy include owning an area of two to five acres with residential arrangements and facilities for meal supply.

Forms are available at www.maharashtratourism.gov.in or at the office of the regional deputy director of the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation.

The initial cost of registration for an agro-tourism centre is ₹2,500, while it can be renewed every five years for ₹1,000.

A Maharashtra agro-tourism and rural tourism development committee will also be formed to promote agro-tourism.

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Printable version | Feb 13, 2022 8:07:28 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-introduces-agro-tourism-policy/article32538399.ece