In a bid to strengthen ties with China and other countries in the BRICS (Brazil, India, China, Russia and South Africa) group, India is contemplating offering visa-free travel or a providing a visa on arrival to business and tourists from this bloc.
Sputnik News quotes Kiren Rijuju, India’s Home Affairs Minister as saying that they were considering a proposal (which they had received from the Department of Commerce) to exempt visa or grant a visa on arrival.
When the Ministry of Commerce & Industry had initially mooted this proposal, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was said to be against it. They, however, relented after intervention from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The MHA’s contention was that since India’s modified visa norms allow e-visas to be issued within 48 hours of applying, such an exemption was not needed.
The Ministry of Commerce & Industry is hoping that this initiative would make travel to India very convenient for businessmen and other foreign delegates. This, in turn, would enable India to kick start its agendas such as Make in India, Digital India and Smart Cities creation. As per the ministry’s expectation, India could generate revenues up to $80 billion per year if a liberalised visa is introduced for businesspersons.