Tourism Ministry discontinues scheme to provide free SIM cards to foreign tourists on arrival in India
Facts show that the opinion of India as the most dangerous country for women is not a reflection of reality, the Tourism Ministry has said in a letter written to the heads of its overseas missions, trade and hospitality associations as well as its tourism offices abroad, asking them to publicise the government's efforts to ensure the safety of women to dispel such misapprehensions.
Contesting the results of a Thomson Reuters Foundation poll, released in June, which put India at the bottom on this count, behind Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and Saudi Arabia, Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Tourism Ministry, said in the letter that it was a "perception poll", adding that India had taken numerous steps after the Nirbhaya gangrape incident on December 16, 2012 to ensure the safety of women.
The letter further stated that the efforts had shown results and there was no change in the gender distribution of foreign tourist arrivals in the country, with the percentage of women tourists remaining at about 40-41 over the last eight years, as against 38 in 2000.
Verma listed several measures taken by the government like the recent enactment of a stringent anti-rape law, institutional mechanisms like one-stop centres, women helplines in 31 states and Union territories to provide 24-hour emergency assistance, counselling legal aid etc. that had gone a long way in providing safety for women.
"These efforts are showing results and the life of the average Indian woman is far improved as compared to a decade before. Facts clearly show that the opinion of India as the most dangerous country for women is not a reflection of reality," she wrote.
Verma also listed the initiatives taken by the Tourism Ministry to ensure the safety of tourists like a multi-lingual toll-free number, deployment of tourist police and other such measures.
"According to the International Passenger Survey (2015-2016) conducted by the Ministry of Tourism, over 80 per cent female passengers are fully satisfied and 18 per cent partially satisfied with the personal security and safety measures in India. The above facts maybe publicised to address any queries or misapprehensions relating to the issue of security of tourists visiting India," the letter said.