Incredibly Unprepared for Tourists


Incredibly Unprepared 

 Safety is one among many deficiencies in India’s hospitality  

   Recent reports of crimes against foreign tourists — including the rape of a foreigner resident in Mumbai and that of a missing Japanese tourist headed for Agra — have once again turned the spotlight on the absence of institutionalised security mechanisms in the country to ensure visitors’ safety.

     Even where state governments have put in place a special tourist police force as recommended by the ministry in 2006, recruits don’t seem to have been sensitised to the plight of tourists, particularly those most vulnerable, who understand neither English nor the local language. A case in point is the tourist police cubicle outside the entrance to the Indira Gandhi international airport terminal in New Delhi. It is almost always empty. 

   Safety is by no means the only ingredient lacking in what we offer guests we make so much effort to invite. Elaborate and extensively promoted international marketing campaigns created by India’s tourism ministry — titled Swagat, Visit India, Explore India, and now Incredible India — have, over the years, been directed at attracting more visitors to India.
   In 2007, until November, a record 4.4 million foreign tourists set foot in India, doubling tourist arrival figures in under a decade. This is however an insignificant number when compared to China’s 45 million, Singapore’s 7.5 million and Spain’s 55 million.

 

That’s because these countries have in place world-class infrastructure including accommodation, medical services, transportation and security.
   The problem is that though we’ve been able to increase tourist numbers, little has been done to create the infrastructure to host these visitors. India’s hotel tariffs are now among the highest in the world.

The luxury tax — a relic of the old economy that was premised on punitive measures against luxury — ought to be abolished. This and other levies on the hospitality sector need to be reviewed and the imbalance corrected. Tax holidays and incentives could be given to encourage building many more middlelevel hotels that could be frills-free.

 

This is necessary to meet future demand, especially since the Commonwealth Games and F1 races are events that are bound to bring in large numbers of visitors on top of the growing traffic that we are already struggling to host.

 

Safdarjung Hospital.Angiography , Dialysis To Be Free


 Safdarjung Hospital.

Emergency Treatment, Angiography And Dialysis To Be Free From January

Kounteya Sinha | TNN  New Delhi: There’s some good news for patients visiting the Safdarjung Hospital. Come January, all patients visiting the hospital’s two main emergency wards will not have to pay a single penny for their treatment and stay.
   Angiography to check the condition of blood vessels and to see if the arteries of the heart have narrowed (that costs Rs 2,000-3,500) and dialysis — a method of removing toxic substances from the blood in patients who have kidney failure — will also become free for everyone from January.
   High-end open heart surgeries, like coronary bypass (a procedure to remove the blockage of the heart muscle that costs Rs 70,000 to Rs 2.5 lakh), valve surgery and replacement (in which one or more valves are repaired or replaced with a prosthetic valve and costs Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh) and surgery to correct or treat birth defects of the heart (congenital heart diseases that would easily cost Rs 1-2 lakh) has already become free for all patients below BPL.
   Orthopaedic implants, which usually cost Rs 40,000-80,000, will also be conducted free for BPL patients.
   Cardiac surgeon and medical superintendent of Safdarjung Hospital Dr Jagdish Prasad told TOI that over 70% of the patients visiting the hospital are extremely poor and come from the villages in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
   The hospital sees over 7,000 patients in its OPDs daily and records 360 fresh admissions everyday. Over 170 emergency and casualty cases are admitted daily while over 79,000 surgeries, small and big, are conducted annually in the hospital. Prasad said: ‘‘Cardiac surgeries of all BPL patients have already been made free. Of the 35 valve replacement surgeries done this month, 28 were free. Usually, we can make out which patients can’t afford to pay. For the rest, we are asking for their ration card and income certificate signed by the BDO/CO of the village to know if they belong to BPL.’’
   He added: ‘‘Emergency care of accident victims, cases of renal failure, septicemia, appendicitis, cardiac failure or any other surgical emergency in the hospital is also being made 100% free for every patient. The hospital will bear the cost of the patient’s drugs, treatment, consultation and stay.’’
   Prasad, who is also principal of Vardhman Mahavir Medical College (VMMC) in Safdarjung Hospital, says an amount of over Rs 23 crore is being set aside to launch these new initiatives.
  Safdarjang Hospital is one of the busiest hospitals. Last year, its OPDs received over 21 lakh patients. The total number of admissions in the past year was 1,17,254 with a bed occupancy of 113.5%.
The hospital also has another unique problem — every day it receives over 100 cases from AIIMS and other hospitals in the city due to non-availability of beds there.’’
   kounteya.sinha@timesgroup.com