Press Trust of india

 Tourism Ministry sought MHA’s support for tourist police deployment, says Union minister

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New Delhi: Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy told Parliament on Monday that his ministry has sought the Home Ministry’s support to take up with state governments the matter of tourist police deployment at key tourism centres including in Jammu and Kashmir.

Replying to a query in the Lok Sabha, he said the safety and security of tourists is essentially a state government subject.

“However, the Ministry of Tourism is well aware of the security concern of the tourists and has taken all possible measures to provide a safe and secure atmosphere for the tourists… Ministry of Tourism has been seeking support of the Ministry of Home Affairs for taking up the matter with the state governments,” he said in a written reply.

With 100 meetings set to be held in 55 cities — mostly key tourist destinations — under India’s G20 presidency next year, the safety of tourists has become one of the focal points for the government.

Reddy said in the past, the tourism ministry has taken up the matter with all the state governments and union territories and has reiterated the aspect of providing a safe and secure environment to tourists.

“In case any such untoward incident occurs against a tourist, there should be a robust system of law and order to handle the situation and provide a satisfactory solution to the affected tourists.

“With the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism, the state governments/UT administrations of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh have deployed tourist police in one form or the other,” Reddy said.

He said the Ministry of Tourism got a study conducted by the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, an autonomous institute under its control, to understand the requirement of tourist police and to sensitize tourist police towards the needs of the tourists.

The Ministry of Tourism forwarded a copy of this study report titled “Functioning of Tourist Police in States/UTs and Documentation of Best Practices” to all states and Union territories with a request to create a separate unit of police also to sensitize them about tourists’ needs.

Reddy also pointed out that his ministry has been working to develop a comprehensive framework and the Bureau of Police Research and Development has commissioned a study on Tourist Police Scheme.

The Tourism Ministry has set up a round-the-clock tourist info-helpline on the toll-free number 1800111363 or on a short code 1363 in 12 languages, including Hindi, English and 10 international languages — German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic — to provide support service for domestic and foreign tourists and to offer them appropriate guidance while in distress.

“The Ministry of Tourism along with all stakeholders, including the tourism departments of all states and Union Territories, have adopted the ‘Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism’ which is a set of guidelines to encourage tourism activities to be undertaken with respect for basic rights like dignity, safety and freedom from exploitation of both tourists and local residents in particular, women and children,” Reddy said.

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