The twin process of immigration and visa for Indian citizens and foreigners will be strengthened and streamlined on a mission mode, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said.
He was addressing a Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting on Immigration Visa Foreigners’ Registration & Tracking here on Friday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs is now working on extending the e-visa scheme to more countries in a planned manner in consultations with all stakeholders. The extension of e-visa scheme is aimed at encouraging tourism, business travel and health tourism in the country.
“We need to facilitate safe and convenient entry to the country for legitimate international travellers. We also need to provide all visa-related and consular services to foreigners staying in India in a faster and convenient mode,” a release issued here quoted Mr. Singh as saying.
The e-visa scheme has become very popular with the number of e-visas issued increasing from 5,17,417 in 2015 to 19,01,309 in 2017. So far, 11,16,985 e-visas have been issued this year till July 5.
“It is expected that within a few years the number of e-visas issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Bureau of Immigration would be more than the number of regular visas issued by all the Indian missions abroad,” Mr. Singh observed.
Launched in 2014
The government launched the e-Tourist Visa scheme for 44 countries on November 27, 2014 and has since extended it to 165 countries. Besides, e-visa processing facilities have been set up at 25 airports and five seaports in the country.
The scheme ensures that foreigners do not have to meet any Indian official before their arrival at the designated landing port.
The Ministry has now decided to increase the scope of the scheme to include e-conference and e-medical attendant visa as well.
Earlier, the Minister arrived at the Kochi airport by a special aircraft of the Border Security Force at 1.10 p.m. The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Ahir, Home Secretary Rajeev Gauba, MPs, senior Union government officials, District Collector K. Mohammed Y. Safirulla, IGP Vijay Sakhare and City Police Commissioner M.P. Dinesh.
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