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J&K part of India, Pakistan has no right to talk about it: Reddy

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“Film production can have a lasting impact on travel destinations”

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India, and Pakistan has no right to talk about it and should rather pay attention towards its own people, Union Tourism Minister G K Reddy said here on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the third G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) here, Reddy said Pakistan was battling a crisis and should focus on its own plight.

“Whatever we do is for the benefit of our people. Who is Pakistan to say anything? What right does it have? J&K has been a part of India since Independence. This is our land, these are our people, and thousands of people have sacrificed their lives for it. Who is Pakistan to say anything?” the minister asked.

Pakistan should pay attention to itself and do something for the betterment of its people. “Provide them employment, food… Why are you talking about us? You have no right. Pakistan is battling a crisis, people are dying of hunger, they do not get rice or gas, so it should focus there,” Reddy said.

He asserted that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were happy. The Centre was doing everything for them and would continue to do so in the future as well, he added.

“There is no need to give importance to what Pakistan says. Pakistan is finished. We do not have to think about Pakistan. We have to think about the people of J&K,” the minister said.

Talking about the Centre’s initiatives on tourism, Reddy said India will hold a tourism summit to discuss the investments in popular tourist states like Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

Referring to the ongoing G20 meeting here, Reddy said such meetings would take place in the capitals of all states. He said 250 meetings will take place in 56 cities under the presidentship of India.

“It was decided to organise this meeting in Srinagar, which is a historic city. However, some precautions had to be taken because it is after so many years that such an event is taking place here. J&K has seen many incidents, there were different problems in J&K, but now, the atmosphere is great here.

“People want development in J&K, they want infrastructure, employment generation at par with the rest of India. That is what the common people of J&K hope and expect. That is why we are taking J&K on the path of progress under the vision of PM Modi,” Reddy said.

He said the meeting will deliberate on the steps to be taken in order to double tourism’s contribution to Jammu and Kashmir’s GDP.

“Last year, tourism contributed seven percent of J&K’s GDP. How to take it to 15 percent this year and how to increase employment avenues, this meeting will discuss that. The G20 meeting will not only benefit J&K, but the whole country,” the minister said.

He also expressed gratitude to the people and the government of Jammu and Kashmir for supporting the meeting. “In the times to come, Srinagar will become the number-one destination for tourists not only from India but from across the world and we will work towards that along with the people of J&K,” he added.

Earlier, addressing the side-event on “‘Promoting Incredible India through Film Tourism” on the sidelines of 3rd Tourism Working Group Meeting, here Tourism minister G. Kishan Reddy said tourism has the greatest ability to generate overall employment especially among the vulnerable communities. 

Film production can have a lasting impact on travel destinations as the cinematic exposure to a destination transforms the place into a tourist destination, Reddy added.

Reddy impressed upon the states and UTs to have formal policies for the promotion of film tourism. Wherever there is an existing policy, the same may be strengthened to pave the way for film production, Reddy added.

Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Apurva Chandra in his detailed session on ‘Facilitating Film Tourism in India through Film Facilitation’ said, India’s film sector has very much to offer to the world having skilled manpower, visualisation and sound effects. The culture and heritage of India provides an enabling environment to the world to shoot the best films here, Sh. Chandra added.

To provide an enabling environment to the film industry, the Film Facilitation Office at NFDC with proactive nodal officers has been set up as a single window mechanism to enable and expedite the issuance of film visas to international cast and crew.

Chandra also highlighted India as a hub of animation, visual effects and gaming. A number of noted masterpieces, the big budget films have been produced in India with lesser production costs which is a magnet of attraction to the film-makers, he added.

Various important sessions of the side event on tourism deliberated upon how to leverage the power of Film Tourism to promote destinations. The sessions provided an opportunity to the States/ UTs to share their policies and best practices which helped them develop film tourism. The event also provided an opportunity to the Industry Stakeholders to give their suggestions and feedback on the factors that will encourage filmmakers to shoot in various locations in the country.

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