In a push to make travel easier, tourists on e-visas will now be greeted with SIM cards in India. The move will allow visitors to connect with locals on arrival without having to wait for hours to get their phones activated. They will also be able to call a 24-hour helpline that will be accessible in 12 languages like Russian, German, Japanese and more. The SIM cards issued by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, a government-owned telecommunications company, will be pre-loaded with about 70 cents (50 rupees) worth of talk time along with 50MB data.
According to the union tourism minister Mahesh Sharma, the initiative is restricted to e-visa tourists for now because their information is available to the authorities in advance. On arrival, visitors will simply need to show up at one of the India Tourism Development Corporation counters at the airport. The service will be introduced at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi for now, but will eventually roll out across 15 other airports in the country.