TODAY -

Joint Tourism Management Committees (JTMCs)
Grassroots solution to evolution of tourism sector in Manipur

Rajesh AMh *



It is not always bad or wrong to begin on a true sad note. Tourism in our state of Manipur is a victim of circumstances. Many issues like ad hoc bandhs, insurgency, in adequate infrastructure etc have negatively affected prospects of evolution of a sound tourism. If we look at the statistics of tourism especially the number of visitors (both domestic and foreign), it is abysmal.

The reason is related to both supply and demand aspects. The supply aspects include adequate infrastructure, responsibility and more importantly a sense of safety and security to be instilled among visitors. The demand side will follow, spontaneously, once the supply sector is ready. Despite all such avoidable chaos, there is so much in our state of Manipur, especially Loktak lake, Sangai, the pride of Manipur, Polo, various forms of indigenous and traditional dances/songs, weaving, various dishes, our accomplishments during world war II, different cultures, organic agriculture, wildlife, village life, adventure sports, handicrafts, etc to present to the fellow citizens and friends from other countries.

Our state is endowed with natural capital like mountain ranges with scenic beauty, wildlife like indigenous and unique flora and fauna, rivers, lakes, migratory birds etc which is a primary requirement to install tourism with social and financial capital occupying secondary and tertiary roles. In such confusion, natural capital is the yet to discover winner.

Tourism depends on numerous factors of which quality of natural capital like forests, wildlife, water sources, mountain ranges etc and its conservation is most important and natural capital indirectly or directly depends sustainable tourism, and hence both tourism and natural capital are inseparable and offer huge potential for socio-economic upliftment of the poor. The untapped tourism potential of our state can be better exploited only if tourism is installed and initiated. For this to happen the best way is to decentralize how tourism is managed.

History was created in the field of forest management by establishment of Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMC's). JFMC's were established following The Indian Forest Policy of 1988 (then MoEF, 1988) and the subsequent government resolution on participatory forest management (then MoEF, 1990) to encourage people to identify themselves with the forest development and management through participatory planning and management. They are registered societies and duly elected. The results accomplished, especially in states like Manipur where forests are managed by communities, are encouraging.

Taking a cue from joint forest management committees where both the communities and forest department join hands to manage forests, the same model can be adopted through establishment of Joint Tourism Management Committees (JTMC's). These committees be given the responsibility of supply chain management and the government can join hands to impart them skills, knowledge and more importantly investment in infrastructure in hospitality sector. The funds be given to JTMC's to establish basic tourism infrastructure to ensure accessibility, safety, security and healthy stay of tourists.

The financial capital for establishment of infrastructure may be shared between state and /or union government (70%) and community (30%). The motive behind 30% contribution by community is to instill sense of ownership and responsibility of tourism (and resources) management. Similarly the benefits derived from such management be shared between state government and the JTMC's at the rate of 50% each. It is about transition from absolute responsibility (of government) towards shared responsibility (of government).

JTMC's along with state and/or union government should invest in proper planning, product development and marketing. The best advertising practice is to facilitate shooting of commercial movies and documentaries. A tripartite MoU between JTMC's, government and other agencies like private tour operators, tourism marketing organizations (both domestic and international), online travel agencies like makemytrip, via.com, goibibo, domestic and international Tour operators (Thompson, Thomas cook, Cox and kings etc), hotel chains and private and public sector airlines etc is necessary in order to build up tourism network of JTMC's and make community not only stakeholders but also responsible. Training in the field of preparation of cuisines of various countries, sanitation and hygiene, languages, tourist guides, drivers and more importantly, conduct of all the stakeholders is a must value addition.

As most of the nature based (natural capital) tourist spots fall in the forest areas, it is logical and rational to utilize the existing JFMC's (as additional responsibility of managing tourism) in areas where there are places of tourism importance. In areas devoid of JFMC's it is rational to establish JTMC's to install tourism. Because in order to take off we should first have runway. As a beginning a Pilot project may be taken up in suitable location by formation of JTMC's.

Even the existing tourism infrastructure of the state is under-utilized because of obvious reasons. Government infrastructure is a default target of many expected threats to tourism. Outsourcing the existing tourism infrastructure to JTMC's will reduce the pressure on government. The issue of Tragedy of the commons (In case of resources owned by community but utilized by individuals for maximizing their own profit without concern for collective interest) in case of common property resources can be well addressed through JTMC's.

JTMC's should mainly focus on our indigenous strengths like presenting skills of Local artisans, handicrafts, organic cultivation of crops, traditional methods of curing/traditional medicine, traditional martial arts, organizing summer and winter school camps, traditional dance festivals/competitions, tournaments like polo, football, rural tourism paddy fields, folk dances, drama, traditional instruments, traditional games, handicrafts, trekking expeditions, wildlife tourism based on sangai, migratory birds etc.

The driving force to have JTMC's is the community ownership of the land especially natural capital like forests etc and only through grassroots participation and subsequent confidence and assurance given to visitors that the negative travel advisories can be defeated. JTMC's can provide quality service in hospitality industry, ensure safety and security of the guests/tourists and place tourism industry in the exempted list of ad hoc bandhs.

JTMC's can prevent negative fallouts of tourism on social, cultural and environment diversity. For example drug abuse and trafficking, exploitation of women etc are few such negative fallouts of unregulated tourism as is evident in capitals of few developing countries in Central Asia, Asia and also in developed world. When people are stakeholders such impacts don't even find a trace of origin. Since cooperation of civil society is integral in JTMC's it makes process of regulation by government easier.

JTMC's can contribute to clear ecological, social and economic benefits. Because tourism depends on natural capital of our rivers, forests, wildlife, mountains, waterfalls etc. Communities through JTMC's will have to conserve natural capital for tourism to get installed and sustain. Socio-economic benefits arise as money can be brought in to local economy and subsequent financial activity promotes sustainable economic growth. At the same time indigenous communities can retain cultural and social identities along with the opportunity for the youth to stay within their localities. This will reduce scope for employment oriented migration to other parts of the country or other countries.

JTMC's can bring in community participation, access to assets and non-financial benefits and ensure inclusiveness by contributing to Pro-people, pro-poor tourism. Hence formation of JTMC's is a key to install inclusive and sustainable tourism in Manipur but conditions apply. Only sites with sustainable tourism potential can help providing sustainable employment and is rational to have JTMC's at such sites. It should be the joint responsibility of community and the government to scout for such locations. Let us show the world that tourism is not about situation in the past but about present and future.

The new slogan for tourism be "Tourism for present and future all"


* Rajesh AM wrote this article for The Sangai Express
Rajesh AM is 2013 batch Indian Forest Service Officer of Manipur cadre. He is currently posted as DFO/Senapati Forest Division, Government of Manipur. Views expressed by the author are personal
This article was posted on October 28, 2016.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.


LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Binota Thokchom at BRICS Young Scientist
  • The Merger of Manipur
  • Improving school management in Manipur
  • Pros & cons of screening tests
  • NPF Rejoinder on 18th June
  • Nagaland CM statement on Aboi ambush
  • June 18 significance: Still living on prayer
  • Need to identify one's strength
  • 18 Immortal Souls Remembered : Flash
  • The Great June Uprising : Read all about it
  • The Pitfalls of Identity Politics
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • All his sons :: Poem
  • Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  • Eid bring cheer in flood hit areas
  • Willong Khullen, Maram #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Defending the environmental defenders
  • Delusion in self - cause of worry
  • Road to Russia: FIFA World Cup
  • It must be love :: Poem
  • 'Future of Naga people is bleak'
  • Give a miss call to Amnesty
  • 'Naga area' bandh on June 18
  • Dzuko valley #4 :: 360 Panorama View
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Id-Ul-Fitr Festival
  • Letter to PM Modi on Naga Talks
  • Greetings on Eid-Ul-Fitr
  • Rejoinder to NPF statement
  • Rejoinder to Nagaland Chief Minister
  • Flood relief continue on 3rd day
  • India-Vietnam Youth Dialogue 2018
  • MU debacle: Why would it be left unnoticed
  • Spirit of World Cup : Brazil to Russia
  • NEC to come under Home Ministry
  • Manipur NGO hosts summit on LGBTQ
  • Flood in Imphal [14 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Women Struggle in Self-Determination
  • 14 June- World Blood Donor Day
  • Naga Integration not possible- NPF react
  • Naga Integration is not possible- CM Rio
  • Relief work in flood affected areas
  • A day which keeps our spirit alive
  • Ranked 320 in the country : MU
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #2 : Gallery
  • Irenna, Zeinorn, Ithoibi :: eMing
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #5
  • Be alert: It's admission time
  • Yin and Yang
  • Watermelon beauty benefits
  • Temp accommodation for Aligarh students
  • Wrath of Mother Nature: Why challenge..
  • 60 pc is no longer first class : 95 pc
  • Flood in Imphal [13 June] #1 : Gallery
  • Sanamahi Laihui & Sanamahi Laining
  • Kuhi- Essential plant for Nungbi pottery
  • Climate justice is integral to development
  • The bridge :: Poem
  • Lt S Vijaya Devi felicitated
  • Then : Indifferent :: Now : Hyper sensitive
  • Phumdigi Tantha : Dance Drama : Gallery
  • Grief at Xavier Rutsa's demise
  • Modi's India: A descend into Ochlocracy
  • The Philippine Experience
  • Cry of a Dying River #33 :: Poem
  • Community Iftar at Moijing, Cachar
  • Candle Light at DU over Assam lynching
  • Demand replacement of Manipur Univ VC
  • The Tragedy of Higher education
  • Unacceptable points spelt out
  • Teinem Luira Phanit @Ukhrul #3: Gallery
  • RPL-PMKVY trainees @Hojai : Gallery
  • Manipur Sports University in UP ?
  • Coloniality of the Postcolonial
  • Yellow leaves in the autumn :: Poem
  • Prof N Irabanta-distinguished academician
  • Leadership matters
  • Artificial turf for budding talents
  • 2 municipal bodies in NE awarded
  • Who is Arambam Somorendra ?
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #3 : Gallery
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #2
  • Grass root challenge- Education in hills
  • Earth does not belong to us...
  • Sita Mata as test-tube baby
  • What happen to VIP Culture Mr. CM
  • Merchants of education
  • Laitonjam Rajnikanta : Profile
  • A blessing to see :: Poem
  • Sovereignty Struggles in Northeast #4
  • Difference between Hinduism & Hindutva
  • How to choose the perfect fragrance
  • Iftaar party at Lilong
  • Bitter truth of Manipuri society
  • MU, NSU, IGNTU : Students at the centre
  • Amuktang-Ga Haikho #1 : eRang
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #2 : Gallery
  • Pony : A Cavalry Horse Par Excellence #2
  • Issues that keep Manipur burning
  • Cry of a Dying River - 32 :: Poem
  • CM & AR interaction with villagers
  • Certification of PMKVY trainees of Hojai
  • Christian appeals for Peace in Shillong
  • How safe are our women?
  • Riders put up by JAC for talk
  • Khangkhui Cave in Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • Pluralism, Democracy & Ethnic Relation #2
  • Irom Sharmila meets with Mehbooba Mufti
  • JRF @ Mizoram University (Biotechnology)
  • Tobacco and heart disease
  • Understanding SOWA - RIGPA #2
  • Campaign "to End Child Sexual Abuse"
  • Implementation of 7th Pay
  • Indigenous street vendor sing gi wafam
  • The crumbling Manipur University
  • Kang Tournament @ Yaiskul : Gallery
  • Zeliangrong orphaned by Nationalism #1
  • A rainy night :: Poem
  • HSLC Exam is the start! What next?
  • World Environment Day: Thoubal, Chandel
  • 1528 cases of fake encounter
  • Shifting tide
  • Sharmila calls on JK CM Mehbooba
  • Linthoi's "The Tales of Kanglei Throne" #1
  • Handloom Weaver @Bishnupur : Gallery
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #2 : Gallery
  • Hinduism in Manipur : Political Perspective
  • World Environment Day at Sendra
  • All the World and his Wife :: Poem
  • Two Shaft Handloom Weaver at Bishnupur
  • Career Guidance Workshop at Ukhrul
  • Rejoinder: on Vigilance Commissioner
  • Appointment of Vigilance Commissioner
  • Towards the brighter side of Technology.
  • MU in the news for wrong reasons
  • Tribal Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Women in CCpur turn to self-help groups
  • Fear and Worry
  • Rongmei Scholars Association formed
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Deteriorating politics in Manipur University
  • Purul Paoki Wrestling : Gallery
  • Sangai Veterans' Football #1 : Gallery
  • Devolution of power to PRIs
  • Khangminashi IV (Lecture) : Report
  • Seminar at MU - Hinduism in Manipur'
  • Northeast: Issues at Stake #2
  • Thietham - A story of grit of a girl
  • Daylight robbery: Will the govt wait..
  • Date with Dy CM : Was it prudent?
  • On FIR against NPF President
  • Yepthomi - winner in Nagaland Lok Sabha
  • Evolution of The Meetei State
  • Heartbreak at Ukhrul: Unfolding Shirock
  • Bacteria, pathogenic bacteria..
  • Drafting Bill for Protection of Manipuri
  • Cry of a Dying River - 31 :: Poem
  • Char saal Modiji sarkar :: WJ
  • Imran Khan signed by FC Goa
  • The mental equation
  • State Level Khurpui-Lam Festival: Gallery
  • June Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • School Girls Basketball #2 : Gallery
  • Course in Political Science at NEHU
  • Where is Manipur....???
  • 'Manipur' in Google maps : Gallery
  • The Killing Fields - 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Mama Poktabi :: Funga Wari
  • Veterans Football Tournament #2 : Gallery
  • Kishon & Taka Tamut scaled Mt. Everest
  • Shirock 2018 - Shirui Lily Fest #1 : Gallery
  • Sougrakpam Vijaya makes history sailing...
  • Arunachali unfurled Salai Taret at Mt Everest
  • Panthoiba: 2nd Rank- class XII, Uttarkhand
  • Ras Leela @JNMDA Day : Gallery
  • HSLC 208 Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • HSLC 2018 :: Toppers Listing
  • HSLC 2018 :: Check Result
  • HSLC :: Statistical/Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2018 :: External
  • Poumai Purul Hiimai Paoki #2 : Gallery
  • Kakching Garden :: 360 Panorama View
  • Folk Dance Festival #5 : Gallery
  • Aerial view from Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Governor's Taekwondo Cup: Gallery
  • Khangkhui Cave, Ukhrul #2: Gallery
  • Curtain Raising- Sangai Fest 2017: Gallery
  • Lainingthou Lai Lam thopka #2 : Gallery
  • Re-visiting Khangkhui caves in Ukhrul
  • Sandrembi Cheishra :: Book Review
  • Ngasepam Nalini : State Akademi Award
  • Gardening @Ema Keithel #2: Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #2: Gallery
  • Pakhangba Cheng Hongba #2 : Gallery
  • Steelheart @ Shirock , Ukhrul #3 : Gallery
  • A. Halim Chowdhury: A Profile
  • Class XII Exam Toppers : Gallery
  • Class XII Result : Science Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Arts Toppers
  • Class XII Result : Commerce Toppers
  • HSE Result 2018 : District Wise
  • HSE Result 2018 : Highest Marks
  • HSE Result 2018 : Science Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Arts Stream
  • HSE Result 2018 : Commerce Stream
  • Kh Sanjita & Saikhom Mirabai :: Gallery
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS