NEW DELHI: Union minister Mahesh Sharma today favoured the entry of women in Kerala's Sabarimala temple, saying there should be no discrimination on the basis of caste and gender.
"The government is of the opinion that there should be no discrimination in all religious places on (the basis of) caste and gender," the Minister of State for Culture and Tourism said on the sidelines of an event.
The Minister's remarks came against the backdrop of Kerala government defending in the Supreme Court the ban on the entry of women in the age group of 10 to 50 years in the historic temple.
Sharma also launched a round-the-clock tourist helpline in 12 languages - Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, English and Hindi.
Asserting the government accords highest priority to safety and security of tourists, he said the launch of infoline will generate confidence among international travelers who are worried about their security.
"They will have access to information in their own language and help in case of distress," he said. The infoline was developed in cooperation with Tata Business Support Services. The contract was given to the firm through a bidding process.
He said the government is also considering roping in private players for the upkeep of tourist destinations under public-private partnership. "We have received suggestions on maintenance of tourist places with the help of private players...We may engage reputed private houses for services like cleaning, restaurant and book shop management," he said.