In a bid to increase foreign tourism in India, the ministry of tourism along with the state-owned telco BSNL has launched a new initiative in which the tourists will get a free pre-loaded SIM card on arrival.
While launching the new scheme, tourism minister Mahesh Sharma said a talk time of Rs. 50 will be available on the BSNL SIM card which will also have 50 MB data.
Initially, the service will be provided at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi but will be later extended to 15 other airports in the country where the e-visa facility is available, he added.
"The initiative will help the tourists to immediately communicate with their relatives at home, hotels, tour operators and so on. I got this idea when I had got a similar card when I had visited Sri Lanka," Sharma said.
The minister also said that the facility will provide ease to the tourists who have to spend about two hours to get their SIM cards activated after they land in India.
The SIM cards will also provide a multilingual toll-free helpline for 24×7 and it is currently available in 12 languages ie include Japanese, Russian and German.
On reasons why the facility is available only to e-visa tourists, Sharma said the complete information about the travelers on such visa is readily "available in advance" which could be immediately synced with the data of concerned authorities for providing the SIM cards.