India will roll out the Visa-on-Arrival (VoA) scheme for 40 more countries.
The government on Monday cleared a slew of measures including the extension of the VoA scheme to 40 countries as well as establishing an online application system for visas and facilitating VoA for pensioners and those attending conference. It has also agreed to extend the VoA to foreign travellers above 60 years of age from all countries and cut down the time taken to give visas to group that are keen to attend conventions.
“There has to be a change in the mindset towards the way we treat foreign tourists. All representatives of government agreed on extending Visa-on-Arrival to 40 countries and initiating an online system as soon as possible,” India’s planning minister, Rajeev Shukla was quoted by the Times of India.
The Ministry of Tourism and Home Affairs have been asked to prepare a roadmap since initiating the Visa-on-Arrival scheme will require a large amount of infrastructure and manpower. “There was a broad consensus on simplifying online visa system, relaxing visa regime for all types of conferences and senior citizens foreign tourist or foreign pensioners,” Shukla added.
“We want to develop a world class visa regime. I am going to write to the home minister with the outcomes of the meeting aimed at liberalizing the visa regime,” Deputy Chairman for Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia said.
The VoA facility is also likely to be extended to more airports like Goa, Gaya, Chandigarh and Amritsar. Currently the scheme is offered at international airports of Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kochi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.