The government is speeding up the process to collect biometric information at its missions of all those who visit India when they apply for a visa as part of augmenting its security measures in line with its policy to promote tourism and business.
The facility is now available in 78 missions. Government sources said it would be rolled out in all 178 missions within a year.
“Various measures are in place to ensure that the visa regime of the country is a facilitator to genuine travellers. The effort has been to not compromise security, while ensuring the travellers are not inconvenienced,” explained an official.
The effort falls within the ambit of the Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking (IVFRT), kick-started in 2010 under the National e-Governance Plan.
The scope of the project is to bring 178 missions, 77 Immigration Check Posts (ICP), five Foreigners Regional Registration Offices (FRRO) and Foreigners Registration Offices (FRO) in state/district headquarters under a secure service delivery platform.
In other words, details of a traveller’s identity at a mission’s ICP, FROs is ascertained through the use of intelligent document scanners and biometrics, foreigner details of entry and exit points are updated, tracking of foreigner’s whereabouts is improved through information sharing.
India now gives e-tourist visa to nationals from 150 countries whose ‘sole’ objective of visiting India is recreation, sightseeing, a casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit. Biometric details of the foreigners visiting India on e-tourist visas are captured on arrival at 16 designated Indian airports.