The Union tourism ministry has directed all states and Union Territories to implement the Tourist Police scheme, especially in places with high tourist footfalls, within the ongoing financial year.
States that have already rolled out the scheme have been instructed to scale up the scheme’s reach to cover more areas frequented by tourists, while those who are yet to start were given a lowdown this month on the best practices followed by states like Rajasthan, who have implemented the Tourist Police scheme successfully.
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Tourism ministry officials also said states and UTs that have not been on boarded yet have been assured that the Centre will extend support to them in setting up the infrastructure needed to get the scheme off the ground.
“The Home ministry had agreed that a discussion regarding the Tourist Police scheme should be held with all the police chiefs of all states. This deliberation was done at a day-long national conference on Tourist Police Scheme this month. While all states are on board, some raised concerns regarding infrastructure issues such as how to set up tourist police stations, or some facilities at airports or railway stations. We conveyed to them that this is done by state tourism boards, but that the Centre will extend support in any way that we can and that they should implement the scheme within this fiscal,” a top tourism ministry official said.
At present 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 another.
The Tourist Police scheme, meant to make a tourist’s experience in the country more hassle free, secure and seamless, was rolled out in 25 tourist destinations as a pilot project in 2019, but could not be implemented across the country due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
India’s year-long presidency of the G-20 summit starting in December this year has now given the government an added impetus to get it off the block, especially since over 200 G-20 meetings are scheduled to be held across 55 locations across India and installing a standardised Tourist Police will be in line with India’s avowed “zero-tolerance policy” towards the safety and security of tourists.