Protected Area Permit Regime: MHA Allows Foreign Tourists to Visit Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur

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Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has relaxed six-decade-old protected area permit (PAP) regime to allow foreign tourists to access border areas of Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur. The move is being initiated to promote tourism, create job opportunities for the locals and generate revenue for the states.

Foreign Tourists to Visit Nagaland, Mizoram & Manipur
  • Foreign tourists, except those from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, would now be allowed to visit some of the most pristine locations of the country that, so far, were out of bounds for them without the special permit.
Img Foreign Tourists, Except from Pakistan, China & Afghanistan

About Protected Area Permit (PAP)

  • Under the Foreigners Order, 1958, all areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states were declared as protected areas.
  • Some parts of Sikkim fall under protected area regime while others under restricted area regime.
  • As per MHA՚s December 2010 circular, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland were excluded from protected area regime initially.
  • Necessary powers have been delegated to various authorities to issue such special permits without prior approval of MHA to facilitate foreign tourists subject to certain exceptions
  • In cases of foreign diplomats, including members of United Nations (UN)
  • The International organisations holding diplomat or official passports, special permits to visit such protected or restricted areas.

Protected and Restricted Areas in India

  • All areas falling close to the international border of the Indian states have been declared to be either Protected Areas or Restricted Areas where tourist circuits can be visited once the necessary permission from the Indian government has been obtained.
  • The Foreigners (Protected Areas) Act established in 1958 requires all foreigners to obtain a Protected Area Permit (PAP) to visit certain protected areas in India, as well as Indian citizens who are not resident in these areas requiring an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to do so.
  • Foreigners (Restricted Areas) Order 1968 states that a Restricted Area Permit (RAP) is required for all foreign nationals who plan to visit areas defined as restricted in India.
  • For business travels or employment of foreign nationals in these areas, special permits must be obtained which allows them to conduct business or work related activities.

Areas for Which a PAP is Required

Travel to any part of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram requires a PAP, as does travel to specific areas of:

  • Sikkim
  • Himachal Pradesh
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Rajasthan
  • Uttarakhand

Areas for Which a RAP is Required

Travel to any part of both Andaman and Nicobar requires a RAP, as does travel to specific areas of Sikkim

Points to Remember

  • A PAP or RAP is valid for tourist groups consisting of two or more travellers.
  • Permit for an individual is issued post review and consultation with the MHA.
  • Permit cannot be extended under any circumstances.
  • Permit is valid for a specific tourist circuit or route and for specific entry and exit points. No area other than that indicated on the permit can be visited.
  • The permit holder must keep sufficient numbers of photocopies of the permit as they may be required to submit a copy at each point of entry or exit.
  • The permit holder must not stay in the restricted or protected area after the expiry of the permit.
  • A foreigner must enter and exit the North-Eastern states by air only.

About Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)

  • Is a ministry of the Government of India
  • As the interior ministry of India
  • It is mainly responsible for the maintenance of internal security and domestic policy.
  • The Home Ministry is also the cadre controlling authority for the Indian Policy

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