//PM directs end to tariff disparity for overseas visitors

PM directs end to tariff disparity for overseas visitors

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday directed senior officials to examine how to end a discriminatory regime against foreign nationals, including non-resident Indians, in areas like hotel tariffs and entry fees for historic monuments. "The prime minister has suggested that the concerned ministries should examine the feasibility of ending this anomaly to treat all consumers of such services on par irrespective of nationality," an official statement said.

Cabinet Secretary B.K. Chaturvedi has been asked to follow up on the directive. Besides hotel tariffs and entry fees, foreign nationals and members of the Indian diaspora are subject to higher tariffs in the case of registration for seminars and trade shows, subscription rates for journals, airfares and healthcare.Welcoming the prime minister’s initiative, the Indian Tour Operators Association said the discriminatory charges were making the country unpopular among visitors who could often be seen complaining at hotels and tourist sites."It is time this practice is ended since even visiting non-resident Indians have to face this bizarre practice," said Subhash Goyal, the association’s president and chairman of Stic Travels."In fact, the prime minister should ask his officials to look into the practice followed by many hotels of fixing tariff after looking at the visitor and also hiking the charges arbitrarily."