The Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) will be implemented in seven ancient cities including Varanasi, Ajmer, and Gaya.

The scheme aims at creation of effective linkages between tourism and cultural legacy in form of heritage, heritage adaptive rehabilitation including retrofitting of historic buildings, development and promotion of core tangible economic activities to enhance livelihood avenues among stakeholders.

The other cities to be covered under HRIDAY are Amritsar, Mathura, Kanchipuram and Velankanni, the last two in Tamil Nadu.

As per the plan, steps will be taken to integrate heritage conservation with urban planning and seeks integrated, inclusive and sustainable development of such cities.

Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu told PTI, "The heritage development of city is not about beautification and conservation of just a few monuments, but development of entire city in light of its heritage characteristics, its planning, its cleanliness, its economy and livelihoods and preservation of its history."

HRIDAY will be a Central scheme, the first of its kind in urban development under which the central government would support entire expenditure.

"It has been conceived for a three-year period 2014-2017 and an expenditure proposed under the scheme is Rs 500 cr. A provision of Rs 200 cr has already been in the Budget for the current financial year," said a senior Urban Development Ministry official.

Based on the learnings of these three years, a scaled up nation-wide scheme would be drawn up to cover other heritage cities.

As per the proposal which is in advanced stage of finalisation, HRIDAY's objectives includes promotion of heritage sensitive infrastructure, documentation of inventory of heritage assets and local capacity enhancement for inclusive heritage based industry.

HRIDAY will have four components - Heritage documentation and mapping linked to city database, inner city and heritage revitalisation and beautification linked to service provision, physical upgradation and basic service provision with focus on cleanliness and improved sanitation in historic areas or heritage precincts and city information, capacity strengthening (trainings, study tours, national and international visits) and knowledge management.

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