New Delhi, July 6 (IANS) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said that the government was committed to strengthen and smoothen the twin processes of immigration and visas for Indian citizens and foreigners respectively.
Addressing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting on Immigration Visa Foreigners’ Registration and Tracking (IVFRT) at Kerala’s Kochi, he said the Home Ministry was implementing the project in mission mode.
“We need to facilitate safe and convenient entry into the country to legitimate international travellers. We also need to provide all visa related and consular services to foreigners staying in India in a faster and convenient mode,” he said.
Rajnath Singh said that while facilitating easier immigration, the security aspect should be kept in mind and also there was a need to track the movement of foreigners already present in the country.
He said that e-Visa scheme has become very popular among the foreigners as it ensures that they do not have to meet any Indian official before their arrival at the designated landing port.
“In 2015 the number of e-Visas issued was 5,17,417 which increased to 19,01,309 in 2017. This year till July 5, 11,16,985 e-Visas have been issued,” he said adding that the Home Ministry has now decided to increase the scope of this scheme to include e-Conference and e-Medical Attendant Visa also.
Giving the future projection of the e-Visa scheme, Rajnath Singh said: “It is expected that in few years time the number of e-Visas issued by the ministry’s Bureau of Immigration (BoI) would overtake the number of regular visas issued by all the Indian Missions abroad.”
“We are increasing the number of departure and arrival counters at major airports as well as providing Human Resource to the BoI to fast-track the immigration process,” he added.
The IVFRT project has been implemented in 165 Indian Missions abroad and 91 Immigration Check Posts (ICPs) and Biometrics software installation in 132 Indian Missions has been done within the given time.
The Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting was attended among others by Minister of State for Home Affairs Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Members of Parliament and senior officials.