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Alphons takes charge of Tourism Ministry (Lead)

New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge) K.J. Alphons on Monday took charge of his Ministry and said the new assignment was a “big responsibility”.

“There is a lot of potential in our tourism sector but first we will have to love ourselves and love India.. then we can attract tourists from other countries,” he said.

“We are a 5,000-year-old civilization and an amazing nation. We have much more to offer in comparison of other nations. We can go much beyond incredible India. We have to market ourselves,” he added.

Alphons said that getting such an important ministry under Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a “pleasant surprise” for him.

“I am most happy to be here. It’s a big responsibility and an incredible job to be done,” he said.

Alphons is the first leader of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Kerala to become a Union Minister. Sworn in Sunday’s reshuffle and expansion of the Union Council of Ministers, he was given independent charge of Tourism and is Minister of State for Electronics and IT.

He said he was happy that he will start from where his predecessor Minister Mahesh Sharma has left.

“I can tell you that tourism is one of the pet ministry of the Prime Minister so many things are in the pipeline. I will work on them with full dedication,” the 1979 batch IAS officer said.

Asked about his priorities in the ministry, Alphons said: “I am new to the ministry so I really have to study things and then set priorities.”

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