Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has been awarded with ‘Know India Programme’ this year by the ministry of external affairs for promoting tourism in the state. Under the programme, a group of youths of Indian origin (excluding NRIs) will be shown different facets of life in India and the progress made by the country. MTDC had also hosted this programme earlier in 2005 and 2010.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Participation from students and young professionals of Indian Origin from South Africa, Myanmar, Israel, Egypt, Mauritius, Malaysia, Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Trinidad & Tobago are expected, state tourism officials said. Based on recommendations received from the Heads of Indian Missions/Posts abroad, around 35 Indian diaspora youths, in the age group of 18-26 years, were selected for each programme, the officials added.Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, tourism & culture, government of Maharashtra said, “The participants can have a first-hand experience of the historical, cultural, industrial, technology, academic and key tourist sites in the state. It is our chance to place Maharashtra on a global map and this initiative will be instrumental in strengthening the bilateral ties with these countries.”Satish Soni, director of tourism, government of Maharashtra and joint managing director, MTDC commented, “We are aggressively promoting Maharashtra tourism in countries like USA, UK, Japan, Germany and Canada and are meticulously working towards establishing Maharashtra as the best tourism state in India.”Apart from the state tourism department, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is involved with the project personally and will be hosting the group for dinner at his official residence on the first day. MTDC will host the participants from May 5 to 14.As per the itinerary, the participants will visit places like World Heritage sites of Ajanta & Ellora, Elephanta Island and elaborate sightseeing of Mumbai, including visits to Global Vipassana Pagoda, BSE, BNHS, Chhatrapati Shivaji Vastu Sangrahlaya, film city, Mani Bhavan, Gateway of India, etc.The participants will also experience the luxury train Deccan Odyssey to travel to Aurangabad, Pench National Park, Tadoba Tiger Reserve, Ajanta Caves, Wakod Village and tour through Godavari Ghats and vineyards in Nashik.