On the occasion of National Youth Day, the Ministry of Tourism (MOT) has launched new skill initiatives keeping in mind the need to improve service standards, a pre-requisite to attract larger number of tourists to India. The programme to make ‘Paryatak Mitra’ (Tourist Facilitators) is targeted at university students including those enrolled with the NCC and NSS, which will be implemented first at destinations identified under the PRASAD scheme of the Ministry of Tourism. This programme will attempt to inculcate appropriate tourism traits and knowledge among trainees to enable them to act as ‘Paryatak Mitra’. A similar programme will be started to appoint Tourist Facilitators in the Northeast. The duration of the programmes will range between four to 30 days and will be implemented by the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management. The programmes began their first batch on January 12, 2016. The Sensitisation Programme for Existing Service Providers at Varanasi will target to train boatmen, rickshaw pullers, pandas, porters, shopkeepers and street vendors (in and around Ghats and temples) to eventually achieve an improved tourist specific service ambience and to further the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan.