VCSGPSY is an acronym for Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali Paryatan Swarozgar Yojana introduced in June 2002. The government of Uttarakhand launched the first self-employment scheme to make tourism a major source of employment and revenue generation. The prime focus was on developing transport facilities within the State.
The scheme offers subsidy and bank loan to unemployed youth who are permanent residents of the State to set up a business in any of the following ten tourism activities:
- Bus or taxi services
- Motor garages and / or workshops
- Fast food centers
- Meditation and / or yoga centers
- 8-10-room motel- or paying guest-style accommodations
- Souvenir centers
- Adventure activity equipment rental shops
- Public communication office (PCO)-cum-tourism information centers
- Tent accommodations
- Development of destination-specific attractions
Financial assistance as per the tourism development scheme of Uttarakhand
Initially, the government offered subsidy of 25% of the project outlay or maximum of INR 500,000. The margin money was 12%. The bank provides the remaining funds for the project as a loan.
However, the amount of financial assistance has changed. For example, the grant / subsidy amount was doubled from INR 500, 000 to 1,000,000 in 2011.
In 2013, the margin money was increased nominally to 12.5% of the total financial outlay.
The subsidy varies from activity to activity and region to region. Non-transport / non-vehicular service enterprises set up in hilly areas of the State are entitled to 33% subsidy subject to maximum of INR 1,500,000. Transport / vehicular businesses set up in the plain areas get 25% subsidy subject to maximum of INR 1,000,000.
The bank sanctions the loan provided the project is economically feasible.
The scheme also has a provision for reservation for schedule caste, schedule tribe, other backward classes, ex defense personnel, and women. For instance, the 2015-16 state budget proposed one fifth reservation for women entrepreneurs. The tourism service providers, including hoteliers, suggested that the period of rebate should be doubled from current five years because the peak tourism season is very short.
A district officer chairs the committee that initiates a transparent process for selecting the economically viable projects. The committee consists of chief development officer, general manager of district industry center, lead district bank manager, officer of the tourism department, and a representative of transport department.
This prescription for self-reliance is no doubt a small essential step for ongoing profits and prosperity through tourism.