MHA eases provisions for obtaining RAP and PAP

NEW DELHI, Oct 5: In a bid to boost tourism, the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has eased the provisions to obtain protected area permit (PAP) and restricted area permit (RAP) by foreign nationals.
The powers to grant PAP and RAP to foreign nationals have now been delegated to the home department of the state government/UT administration concerned or the foreigner regional registration officers.
The new provisions to issue RAP and PAP were made after a review meeting by the MHA, said MoS for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju in a release.
However, the delegation of power will not be applicable to nationals of countries under the ‘prior reference category’, the release said.
“This move will facilitate foreign tourists to visit some of the pristine locations of the country,” said Rijiju.
As per the previous guidelines, approval of the MHA was required before granting of PAP or RAP to a foreign national intending to visit a place in a protected area or a restricted area for activities other than tourism on a visa other than tourist visa, or a foreign national visiting a place for tourism purpose which is not open for tourism.
Presently, the whole of Arunachal Pradesh and parts of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Sikkim, and Uttarakhand are covered under the provisions of protected areas. Certain areas of Sikkim and Andaman & Nicobar Islands have been declared as restricted areas.