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E-visa scheme for more countries

E-visa scheme for more countries

Number of e-visas issued up from 5,17,417 in 2015 to 19,01,309 in 2017

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.

Mr. Singh was addressing a Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting on Immigration Visa Foreigners’ Registration & Tracking (IVFRT) 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 Minister emphasised the significance of the security aspect while facilitating easier immigration. At the same time, there is need to track the movement of foreigners present in the country.

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 (BoI) would be more than the number of regular visas issued by all the Indian missions abroad,” Mr. Singh observed.

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 5 seaports in the country.

Earlier, the Minister arrived at the Kochi airport by a special aircraft of the Border Security Force at 1.10 p.m. He was received by Aluva Rural SP Rahul R. Nair, deputy collector M.V. Suresh Kumar, district additional protocol officer Ranjith George.

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, Inspector General of Police Vijay Sakhare and City Police Commissioner M.P. Dinesh.

(Source: thehindu.com)