Indian Government in association with Ministry of Tourism, recently launched an initiative of Free pre-loaded SIM Card to foreign tourists arriving through e-Visa. Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Tourism, Mahesh Sharma said, that this unique initiative would assist the foreign tourists to communicate with their acquaintances immediately after their arrival in India. The minister launched the scheme and presented the first kit containing SIM to a representative of travel and tourism sector. Vinod Zutshi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism; J S Deepak, Secretary, Ministry of Communications and senior officers were present on the occasion.
Travelers arriving in India on an e-tourist visa, available to residents of 161 countries, will automatically be issued a SIM card, along with a welcome packet. The entire kit comprises a BSNL SIM and literature of a “dos and don’ts” list, detailed maps, and emergency contact information. The scheme will be available at all international airports in India starting with the capital city.
“This Free SIM Card initiative will boost international tourism. Foreign tourists face problems while procuring a SIM card, making them dependent on telephone booths. The pre-load talktime and data will help them communicate within the country. The cards can be recharged as and when required. It will be functional from the moment they step out of the airport,” Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi said.
The initiative has been launched in collaboration with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL), wherein the government service provider would provide preloaded SIM Cards to foreign tourists arriving in India on e-Visa. This facility will be initially available at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (T3 Terminal), New Delhi and would later cover the remaining 15 international airports, where the e-Visa facility is available. The ready-to-call SIM cards will be available at international airports in Delhi, Panjim, Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Srinagar, Kolkata, Guwahati, Trivandrum and Varanasi.
In order to avail the preloaded SIM Card, travelers need to submit BSNL authorities a copy of the e-Visa issued and the first page of a passport from foreign tourists on arrival at the airport. The SIM cards will be pre-loaded with Rs 50 talk time and 50 MB data and will be activated on an immediate basis so as to enable them to use this facility instantly.