In a first, India will give tourist visa and e-tourist visa to foreigners willing to undergo short term course on Yoga in its bid to popularise the ancient spiritual and ascetic practice globally.
Realising the spread and importance of yoga world over, the government has decided to include attending a short term yoga programme in the list of permissible activities under tourist visa.
Besides, the government has decided to include attending a short term yoga programme and short duration medical treatment under Indian systems of medicine in the list of permissible activities under e-tourist visa.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has taken a decision to include short term yoga programmes in tourist visa and e-tourist visa, an official spokesperson said.
Presently, a tourist visa is granted to a foreigner whose sole objective of visiting India is recreation, sight seeing and casual visit to meet friends or relatives, short duration medical treatment or casual business visit.
All Indian Mission abroad and Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs)/ Foreigners Registration Officers (FROs) in the country have been requested to take action as per the latest decision, the spokesperson said.
TVoA (tourist visa on arrival), enabled by Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA), popularly known as e-tourist visa scheme, was launched on November 27, 2014.
Under the e-tourist visa scheme, an applicant receives an email authorising him or her to travel to India after it is approved and he or she can travel with a print-out of this authorisation.
On arrival, the visitor has to present the authorisation to the immigration authorities who would then stamp the entry into the country.
Till now, the scheme has been extended to 150 countries at 16 Indian airports designated for providing e-tourist visa service.
Since the launch of the scheme, more than around 9 lakh visas have been issued. At present, on an average, 3,500 e-tourist visas are being granted daily to foreign nationals.
In addition, Japanese nationals are given visa-on-arrival facility, a move that is expected to boost inflow of tourists and business visitors.
The visa-on-arrival for Japanese is issued in business, tourist, medical and conference categories. It has a validity of 30 days.