Govt to further relax visa norms to boost tourism: Swaraj

Swaraj said that after the launch of e-visa scheme, arrivals of tourists in India have steadily increased.

The Dollar Business Bureau

In order to attract more businesses and tourists to India, the Government on Sunday said that it is planning to further ease the visa norms shortly.

“We plan to further liberalise our visa regime for tourism, business as well as other areas shortly,” External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said at the Global Investors Meet in Indore.

She further said that the issues related to visa were one of the concerns for foreigners and the Indians who are living abroad, and the government has already taken measures to address the concerns.

In November 2014, the government started the e-visa scheme for more than 100 countries. This was further extended to 37 countries in 2016, taking the overall number to 150.

Swaraj said that after the launch of the e-visa scheme, arrivals of tourists in India have steadily increased. “The strong Indian diaspora of 25 million, consisting of NRIs and PIOs, are a major force to promote country’s interests abroad,” she added.

She also said that cards of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) have been merged and the government has put a system in place for protection and welfare of immigrant workers. And to redress their complaints in a timely manner, a portal has also been launched.

Speaking about investments, Swaraj said the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy has been further liberalised, making the country one of the most open economies in the world.

The government has cleared the bankruptcy law and a well-defined roadmap for reducing corporate tax from 30% to 25% in the coming four years has also been laid down, she informed.

Reforms and initiatives like Make in India, Start up India, Digital India and Smart City Mission are all targeted at preparing the country for the 21st century, she added.


The Dollar Business Bureau - Oct 24, 2016 12:00 IST