ETA/VoA also on the anvil; life-long Visa for PIO also on the cards
Addressing an audience of over 18,000 from the Indian American community at the historic Madison Square Garden in New York yesterday, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi announced a slew of measures to ease travel to India for US travellers as well as People of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI). These announcements came towards the end of his near hour-long speech. The major announcement was the new government’s intention to facilitate long-term Visa for citizens of US for India. The PM said that Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) and Visa on Arrival (VoA) for US citizens are on the cards and will be implemented in the immediate future.
Another major decision which was received with a thunderous applause by the Indian community settled in the US was the PM’s announcement to extend life-long Visa for PIO cardholders. Noting that there are certain differences between the PIO and OCI schemes, the PM said PIO cardholders will be granted Visa for life, and a new scheme will be announced soon, merging the two.
Throughout his speech, Modi spoke about the vision of his government to bring major turn around in the development agenda of the country. He said that the focus of the government is to do away with all the regulatory frameworks which are archaic and act as a stumbling block for development. He spoke about the various schemes initiated by his government to bring major change in the society with the participation of the people, including the Clean India initiative, Ganga rejuvenation plan, etc. He exhorted the Indian diaspora to join the effort of the government in the development process of the country.
India introduced the tourist VoA scheme for citizens of five countries, and now, the facility is available for citizens of 12 countries—Finland, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, Indonesia and South Korea.