NEW DELHI: Foreign tourists arriving in India will get free SIM cards from the government. Union minister Mahesh Sharma launched the initiative on Wednesday saying that this initiative will help foreign tourists in communicating in India.
“This unique initiative will facilitate the foreign tourists in communicating with their acquaintances immediately after their arrival in India. A tourist helpline in twelve foreign languages is already there so that the foreign tourists can get the required information in their own language,” said Mahesh Sharma, minister of state (independent charge) for Tourism and Culture.
The minister said that the demonetization had no adverse impact on the flow of tourists in the country as it has increased during last few months as compared with the last year. He presented the first kit containing Sim to a representative of Travel and Tourism sector on Wednesday.
Officials said that this initiative has been launched in association with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, (BSNL), wherein BSNL would distribute pre-loaded SIM Cards to foreign tourists arriving in India on e-Visa. This facility will be initially available in the Indira Gandhi International Airport (T3 Terminal), New Delhi and later cover remaining 15 international airports, where e-Visa facility is currently available.
To avail pre-loaded Sim Card, BSNL will collect e-Visa copy and the first page of passport from foreign tourists on arrival at the airport. “This facility is only available for tourists arriving in India on e-Visa. Sim cards will be pre-loaded with a value of Rs 50 talk time and 50 MB data and will be activated on immediate basis so as to enable them use this facility instantly. This initiative is also aimed at providing connectivity to foreign touriststo enable them to stay in touch with their near and dear ones and also help them to contact with the 24x7 Multi lingual toll free helpline of Ministry of Tourism for any assistance and guidance during times of distress or medical emergency,” said a senior official.