The cities selected for the HRIDAY project are Amritsar, Varanasi, Gaya, Puri, Ajmer, Velankanni, Mathura, Kanchipuram, Dwarka, Badami, Warangal and Amravati.

The cities selected under the scheme are symbolic of the broad diversity in the heritage prevalent in our country, in form of their cultural, regional and religious identities, he said, adding, "More cities will be identified in due course based on joint consultations between Centre and states."

As per the plan of action, steps will be taken to tap the unlimited potential underlying in tourism and heritage sector unleashing the power of skillful artisans and traditional economy.

"Our aim is to preserve the rich heritage and showcase them to the next generation as the contribution or achievements of our ancestors," he said.

The project with a time-frame of three to five years and an outlay of Rs 500 crores in Phase 1 is expected to be launched next year.

Naidu said the entire funding will be from the Centre and the cities will have to submit the detailed project report for this.

HRIDAY will have four themes - physical infrastructure, institutional infrastructure, economic infrastructure and social infrastructure for reviving and revitalising the soul of heritage city.

He said the project is also open to private participation. "If any organisation wants to join it then it is OK because citizens' engagement shall be pivotal".
"A liitle effort on our side can create transformational changes, which will make the past, the present and the future generations of the country and the world proud of India," he said.

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