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India mulling to extend Visa on Arrival facility to 40 more countries

India provides Visa on Arrival for nationals of 11 countries.
India provides Visa on Arrival for nationals of 11 countries.

Indian government is planning to extend Visa on Arrival (VoA) facilities to 40 countries including US, UK, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

New Delhi, Oct 8/Nationalturk – In order to attract more foreign tourists to India, Indian government is planning to extend Visa on Arrival (VoA) facilities to 40 countries.

A high level meeting of officials of Indian Home ministry, intelligence agencies, foreign ministry, tourism and finance was convened by India’s Planning Commission last evening to discuss simplifying online visa in order to attract more foreign visitors and foreign currency into India.

Official sources said the meeting was attended by Indian Planning Commission’s Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, Tourism Secretary Parvez Dewan, Additional Home Secretary and representatives from the Intelligence Bureau and Prime Minister’s Office.

“There was a consensus among the participants about initiating the process to make India a tourist-friendly country and extending the on-arrival visa facility to around 40 more countries,” Indian Planning Minister Rajeev Shukla told Indian wire news agency, PTI.

He said all the officials were of the view that India should do this (extend VoA facilities to more countries)  as it would help in garnering more foreign exchange when Indian government is battling the problem of burgeoning current account deficit as it would help in earning foreign exchange.

‘Broad consensus on simplifying online visa system

Shukla said there was also broad consensus on simplifying online visa system, relaxing visa regime for all types of conferences and senior citizen foreign tourist or foreign pensioners.

The new countries, whom India wants to extend Visa on Arrival facilities include US, UK, Canada, Brazil, Australia, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Italy, Swedan, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Norway and Ireland.

India is presently providing VoA facilities to nationals of 11 countries — Japan, Finland, Singapore, Indonesia, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos and Myanmar.

“It was  decided in the meeting that visa on arrival visa facility would be extended to more airports like Goa, Gaya, Chandigarh and Amritsar which have large flow of foreign tourists,” Shukla said.

At present VoA facility is available to nationals of 11 countries at international airports of Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, Kochi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.

‘Foreign earnings in India from tourism have gone up’

According to Indian Tourism ministry officials foreign exchange earnings from tourism during January to August 2013 were $12.025 billion with a growth of 6.7 per cent, as compared to $11.273 billion previous year.

The men dealing with tourism sector said if the Visa on Arrival facility are extended to more countries, then foreign earnings of India will increase manilfold.  “It is a good move and should be followed in principle. It will also help the people associated with tourism sector”.

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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk India News

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