In a bid to promote hassle-free travel for foreigners arriving in India, the government will now issue pre-activated, free SIM cards to those visiting the country on e-visa.
Hailed as a progressive move by the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), the SIM cards will initially be provided to foreign tourists arriving at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Joinfo.com reports with reference to India Today.
The service will later be extended to 15 other airports in the country that have provisions for e-visas. Currently, 161 countries can avail the e-visa facility for travelling to India.
The initiative has been launched in association with BSNL, who will be providing SIM cards with a talktime of Rs 50 and 50 MB data for internet on phone. BSNL will be collecting a copy of the e-visa and the first page of the passport before providing the pre-loaded SIM.
“The initiative will help tourists immediately communicate with their relatives back home, hotels, tour operators and so on. I got this idea when I received a similar card on visiting Sri Lanka,” tourism minister Dr Mahesh Sharma said.
The SIM card will be valid for a month and will also help travellers contact the 24-hour tourist helpline number available in 12 languages, including Russian, German and Japanese.
The reason for restricting the facility to e-visa tourists lies in the fact that the information about these travellers will be available much in advance. This in turn would ease the process of syncing the tourist’s data for issuing SIM cards.