In order to boost the growth of tourism industry and diverse businesses, the Government of India has given approval to progressive and liberal reforms to the visa policy. These reforms include a comprehensive visa facility giving multiple entries for a long term by integrating the conference, business, and tourist visas into one visa.
The Cabinet headed by the Prime Minister also approved the decision to extend E tourist visas to eight more countries. This has taken the total number of nations enjoying the E-visa privilege to 158 nations.
The Central government also decided to rationalize, simplify and liberalize the current visa regime in India. There will also be gradual modifications to the visa policies as decided by the Home Ministry in deliberation with diverse stakeholders, as quoted by The Indian Express.
The diverse reforms to the visa policies are aimed at facilitating the arrival of immigrants for business, medical and tourism purposes. The reforms are also anticipated to enhance economic growth, enhance revenue from business tourism, medical tourism, and tourism visits. They will also assist to facilitate the success of diverse flagship projects of the government such as ‘Make in India’, ‘Digital India’ and ‘Skill India’.
The reforms announced by the government will make the visa policy of the country smooth and easy for the immigrants of the diverse categories. The new category of visa will be applicable to immigrants visiting India for conferences, vacation, film shootings and medical or business purposes. The suggestions for these changes were given by the Prime Minister’s Office to the Commerce Ministry.
The long duration visas that will approve multiple visits will be valid for ten years but the immigrants will however not be permitted to stay or work permanently.
Excluding those people who are eligible for the trade and travel visa policy of ten years, nationals from other countries will be offered a five-year visa for multiple arrivals for trade and travel purposes. According to the changes that will be implemented, an overseas immigrant will be given a multiple arrival long duration visa that does not permit to work or stay permanently and the stay is restricted to 60 days per arrival.
The visa fee also might be waived, if the government so decides. The visitors will also have to give details of their biometric and satisfy certain security requirements. The initiatives are part of the Commerce Ministry’s plans to enhance the services trade of India.
It is estimated as per the reports of the tourism sector that India is losing revenue worth 80 billion American dollars every year in the aspect of the visit from immigrants and overseas revenue.
The revenue from medical tourism itself is projected at 3 billion US dollars and is estimated to increase to seven to eight billion dollars by the end of 2020. India had 1, 71,021 overseas patients arriving in 2012, 2, 36,898 patients in 2013 and 1, 84,298 immigrant patients in 2014.