Source: Times of India
Himanshi Dhawan & Mahendra Singh, TNN | Oct 8, 2013, 01.38 AM IST
NEW DELHI: India is set to roll out the red carpet for foreign tourists. The government on Monday cleared a slew of measures including extending visa on arrival (VoA) to 40 countries, establishing an online application system for visas and facilitating visa on arrival for pensioners and those attending conferences.
The decision means foreign tourists will be able to apply for an Indian visa from the comfort of their homes while citizens from 40 countries including the US, the UK, Germany, France, Brazil, Russia and China among others will avail visa on arrival when they land on Indian shores. The government has also agreed to extend visa on arrival to foreign travelers above 60 years of age from all countries and cut down the time taken to give visas to groups that are keen to attend conventions.
“There has to be a change in 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,” planning minister Rajeev Shukla said.
The ministries of tourism and home affairs have been tasked with preparing a roadmap since initiating the visa on arrival scheme will require a large amount of infrastructure and manpower. So far, citizens of around 11 countries including Japan, New Zealand andVietnam can avail visa on arrival.
The government is closely reviewing the online application systems adopted by Sri Lanka where only electronic visas are issued fortourists on short visits.
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