23rd November 2016
Subject: IATO Suggestions for smooth operation at ASI Monuments for tourists
As you are aware, old currency bank notes of Rs. 500/- and Rs. 1000/- will be accepted till 24th November 2016 (Midnight) at ASI Monuments, Petrol Pumps etc.
Keeping in view the shortage of new currency and restriction in withdrawing of cash from the bank, the following letter has been sent to Hon’ble Minister for Tourism and Culture and the senior officials in the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture so that our members can run their business smoothly.
Shall update you once we get any positive reply from the Government.
22nd November 2016
Dr. Mahesh Sharma
Hon’ble Minister for Tourism & Culture
Ministry of Tourism
Government of India
Hon’ble Minister Sir,
Sub: IATO Suggestions for smooth operation at ASI Monuments for tourists
Greetings from IATO !
The recent demonetization policy by the Hon’ble Prime Minister is a bold move towards eradicating back money for the Indian economy. We in IATO fully support the sentiments behind the move. However, we would be honest in saying the tourism industry has faced many hardships because of the move, regarding many of which we have already been in constant touch with you. Your support and actions thus far have been most appreciated by all stakeholders.
Sir, the PM had clearly spelt the way forward – to move the economy to a cashless system in as many ways a possible. We in the Indian tourism industry must support this vision of the Prime Minister. Unfortunately, as of today, the most important national cultural assets under the control of the Minister of Culture do not allow for us to go down this path due to archaic systems of collecting entrance fees.
Under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, our country is fast transforming towards Digital India. But, it is a well-known fact on the ground that there is a serious amount of pilferage and corruption at monuments with the current cash based system, as we do not have electronic payment facilities at most important ASI monuments. The online system they introduced is unreliable and has created many problems for our members and also all the monuments are not covered. While we appreciate online purchase, this should be upgraded to accept traffic and all cards including International. Also all the monuments which are left out should be included e.g. Fatehpur Sikri, Agra Fort etc.
We would like to therefore make 4 simple suggestions –
1. All ASI monuments must get electronic credit card swipe machines. We recognized this may take longer, so therefore the suggestion made above will help the larger organized tourism industry immediately.
2. All tour operators / travel agents be allowed to buy tickets in bulk from the Ministry of culture for all ASI moments against a DD or cheque payment. This used to be the process, but was withdrawn for some reason. These tickets must have a 12 months validity. This will make it much easier for our members to manage money flows and also take out the element of cash transactions as well as help us provide a better service to our tourists. At the same time if an incentive/discount could be linked with the bulk purchase as PLB and as per the slabs defined.
3. On next phase, it is suggested to incorporate Bar Coding on the tickets with electronic barrier at the entrance and exit (like at metro stations). This will avoid any misuse of tickets at the monuments as timings (in and out) can be monitored.
4. Sir, the deadline for accepting old notes will expired on 24th November 2016. If we are not able to solve the situation at our monuments before that, the entire tourism industry may come to a standstill as we will not be able to take tourists to our most important sites. This may require further extension of acceptance of old bank currency notes at ASI Monuments.
We look forward to your favourable response and support to the industry.
Thanking your and with best regards,
Mr. Vinod Zutshi, Secretary (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India
Mr. Narendra Kumar Sinha, Secretary (Culture), Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India
Dr. Rakesh Tewari, Director General (ASI), Govt. of India
Mr. Suman Billa, Joint Secretary (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India
Mrs. Meenakshi Sharma, Additional Director General (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India
Mr. Navneet Soni, OSD to Hon’ble Minister for Tourism and Culture, Govt. of India
Mr. Ravinder, PS to Hon’ble Minister for Tourism and Culture, Govt. of India