NEW DELHI: Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today said India has started implementing the liberalised visa regime with effect from April 1, a move that will help boost tourism and services trade. In a series of tweets, she said the Cabinet on November 30 last year approved various measures for such relaxation of rules which are being implemented from April 1 this year.
"Multiple entry tourist and business visas for a period of five years will now be available to nationals of most of the countries. With effect from April 1, e-visa is sub-divided into 3 categories -- e-tourist visa, e-business visa and e- medical visa," she said. The e-visa facility has now been extended to nationals of 161 countries for entry through 24 airports.
The facility is also extended to Cochin, Goa and Mangalore sea ports, which will benefit cruise tourism. Soon, Mumbai and Chennai sea ports will be included in the list, she added. "Upon urgent requests, business visa and medical visa will be granted within 48 hours of application," one of the tweets went.
As part of the plan, separate immigration counters and facilitation desks to assist medical tourists in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad will be coming up. The move assumes significance as India is taking steps to boost its services trade, which has been estimated at about USD 270 billion.