The Ministry of Tourism has completely refuted the poll titled ‘The World’s most dangerous countries for women 2018’ of Thomson Reuter Foundation’s, wherein India has been listed as the most dangerous country for women.
In a letter to the Heads of Indian Missions Overseas; President of all trade and hospitality associations and all Indiatourism Offices Overseas, Rashmi Verma, Union Tourism Secretary has said that this ranking is based on a perception poll conducted with 548 respondents on the basis of responses to six questions. The results have not been derived from any kind of data and are solely based on subjective opinions of the 548 respondents who have been defined by Reuters as ‘experts focused on women’s issues’. However, information on the their credentials, country of expertise or qualifications are not available.
T3 reproduces the letter:
* The poll has collected opinions on healthcare, discrimination, cultural traditions, sexual violence, non-sexual violence and human trafficking. India is far ahead of many countries in most of these areas and has also seen significant improvement in indicators when compared with its own performance in previous years. Therefore, the ranking of India appears to be clearly inaccurate.
* Even since the unfortunate (Nirbhaya) incident of 2012, the entire country has been alert about the safety of women and the Government has been taking a lead in this direction. Recent enactments have provided for more stringent punishment for offences against women including new offences such as acid attacks, stalking, sexual harassment, etc. In addition, several institutional support mechanisms have been put in place, such as One Stop Centres and Women Helplines in 31 states to provide 24 hour emergency and non-emergency response including police assistance, legal aid and legal counseling, medical aid, shelters etc. Representation of women in the police has been increased by State Governments to make the force more women friendly. Equal opportunities are being provided to women under various schemes of the Government and education of the girl child is being given special focus through launch of multiple scholarships.
* These efforts are showing results and the life of the average Indian women is far improved as compared to a decade before. Facts clearly show that the opinion of India as the most dangerous country for women is not a reflection of reality.
* The Ministry of Tourism, on its part, has taken several initiatives towards ensuring the safety and security of tourists visiting the country, as detailed below :
· A 24x7 Toll Free Multilingual Tourism Info-Helpline on 1800111363 or 1363 has been launched in 12 languages to provide support service in terms of information relating to travel in India and also offers appropriate guidance to tourists in distress while travelling in India.
· A Welcome card with ‘Tips to enjoy your stay” is being handed over to offering tourists on arrival to make the visit of tourists a memorable experience.
· Guidelines on Safety and Security of Tourists have been issued for States/UTs to stress the importance of safety and risk management, assists in identifying best practices and encourage closer cooperation for ensuring a pleasant experience to the tourists.
· State Governments/Union Territory Administrations have been encouraged to deploy Tourist Police in one form or the other and the states/UTs of Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh have dome so.
· Constant interaction is maintained with States/UTs , various tourism related institutions and stakeholders for drawing up strategies for development and promotion of tourism including safe and honorable tourism. Social awareness media campaigns have been launched with the objective of sensitizing stakeholders I nthe tourism industry as well as the general public about the importance of good conduct and behavior towards tourists and to reinforce the spirit of ‘Atithidevo Bhava’.
· The Ministry of Tourism has organized a Social Media Key Influencers’ the Great Indian Blog Train in February 2018, involving bloggers from across the world. Out of the 57 bloggers, as many as 45 were women bloggers and they have been blogging extensively on their experiences in India which are being viewed and read by their large follower base.
* It is pertinent to note that there has been no change in the gender distribution of foreign tourist arrivals to the country, with the ratio of women tourists remaining at about 40-41% over the past 8 years as against 38% in 2000.
* According to the International Passenger Survey (2015-16) done by Ministry ofTourism, over 80 per cent of female passengers are fully satisfied with the personal security and safety in India, and 18 per cent partially satisfied.