India is set to hand out free pre-paid mobile SIM cards to international visitors arriving on e-Visa. For years now, tourists had to endure mind boggling bureaucracy just to get a mobile number in country, making them depend on the telephone booths. Now, anyone arriving in the country on an e-Visa will be automatically be issued with a free pre-paid SIM card, along with a welcome kit which includes; maps, a do’s and don’ts list, and details of who to contact in cases of emergency. The free SIM cards can be easily recharged, as and when needed, and will be fully functional right from the moment you leave the airport.
The government of India will issue the free SIM cards through Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (abrreviated as BSNL), which is a state owned telecommunications company, and the 6th largest mobile service provider in India. This move is actually aimed at projecting the country as a global destination among foreign tourists, whilst addressing security concerns by basically equipping the travelers with pre-paid SIM cards to make phone calls when in distress. Initially, this service will be offered at Indira Gandhi International Airport which is in New Delhi, but will later extend to 15 other airports around country where e-Visa facilities are available.
According to a report that was issued by World Travel and Tourism Council, tourism consisted of over 6% of India’s total GDP in the year 2015. By smoothing the logistics for foreign travelers, India hopes to improve its’ reputation among tourists, increase the flow of the international visitors, and make things hassle free for international tourists
What is an e-Visa ?
The e-Visa is an electronically issued authority to travel to the country of India, and can be utilized to replace the traditional visa that’s stamped into the passport when issued by the government of India. India’s e-Visa is available for citizens of over 150 countries, including the United States, and has been described as a game changer. The e-Visa is a easier and faster to apply for, and is a cheaper alternative to the traditional stamped visa option.
That said, you should know there are 3 types of e-Visas. They include:
- e-Tourist Visa: This is for tourists who’s purpose of traveling to India is tourism, recreation, sight seeing or visiting friends.
- e-Business Visa: This is for travelers who’s purpose of traveling to the country is business.
- e-Medical Visa: This is for travelers who’s purpose of traveling to the country is to seek short-term medical treatment.