The Indian Government has launched an online visa facility for 43 countries, including the US, Australia, Japan, Israel, Germany and Singapore, where passengers can apply for a visa from their homes and receive it within 72h.
The visa fee has been fixed at $62 and the electronic travel authorisation (ETA) will be valid for 30 days.
Presently, the facility will be available at nine airports, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Kochi, Goa, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Thiruvanathapuram.
Eligible visa applicants are those travelling on leisure, short duration medical treatment, casual business visit or to meet friends and relatives, and a tourist can avail the facility twice a year.
While 43 countries have currently been included in the visa scheme, it will be eventually extended to 180 countries. The government has made this move to boost international tourist visits to the country.
The Hindu quoted minister of state for tourism and culture Mahesh Sharma as saying: "The implementation of tourist visa on arrival enabled with electronic travel authorisation (ETA) will send a clear and powerful message that India is serious in making travel to the country easy."
Some of the other countries that have been included in the scheme in the first phase are Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, the UAE, Jordan, Kenya, Fiji, Finland, South Korea, Singapore, Mauritius, Mexico, Norway, Oman and the Philippines.
Singh was quoted by The Times of India as saying: "Currently, we have included 43 countries in the first phase. Barring those who are 'high-risk' countries, we will extend this facility to almost every country in the world phase-wise."