New Delhi: Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba on Tuesday said that creating a simple and hassle-free Visa regime is the government's objective to improve the ease of travelling for foreign tourists across the country.
Addressing a conference on "Streamlining of India's Visa regime" here on Tuesday, Gauba highlighted various policy initiatives taken by the Centre to liberalise the Visa regime, taking into account the concerns and suggestions made by various ministries and stakeholders, including Ministries of Civil Aviation, Tourism, Health, and Higher Education.
Emphasing that India has the potential to become a global hub for education and tourism, Gauba called for a change in the mindset at the field level to make foreigners feel welcome in the country. "A friendly Visa regime is also a part of the ease of doing business," he added.
"At the same time, security should also be strengthened, using technological tools," he added. Citing the recently launched e-FRRO module which provides 27 Visa related services to foreigners, he said, "It has been very successful and has obviated the need for foreigners to visit FRRO offices for extending their stay, change of Visa status, and so on."
"E-Visa facility now covers 166 countries and foreigners can obtain online Visa within 72 hours for travel related to tourism, business, health, medical attendant and conference purposes," he added.
The number of e-Visas issued has seen a tremendous growth during the last four years from 5.17 lakh in 2015 to 21 lakh this year till November 30, 2018. The number of Visas issued through e-Visa system is now approximately 40 per cent of the total number of Visas issued and the figure is soon expected to cross the 50 per cent mark, which is an indication of its popularity. "Our e-Visa regime is one of the best in the world," he said.