The ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Thursday said it will begin granting fresh tourist visas to foreigners coming to India through chartered flights from October 15.
The government has also said foreign tourists travelling to India by flights other than chartered aircraft would be able to do so with effect from November 15.
With this, the restrictions placed on visa and international travel stand further eased given the present overall Covid-19 situation, it said.
All foreign tourists must adhere to Covid-19 protocols and norms notified by the health ministry, according to an official statement.
The government said the decision was taken after it received representations from several state governments as well as various stakeholders in the tourism sector to start tourist visas and also, to allow foreign tourists to come to India.
“Therefore, the MHA consulted all major stakeholders like the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Ministry of Tourism and various state governments where foreign tourists are expected to arrive,” it said.
India extended the the suspension on scheduled international commercial passenger flights till 31 October, barring the international all-cargo operations and flights specifically approved by DGCA.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all visas granted to foreigners were suspended last year. Various other restrictions were also imposed on international travel by the Central Government to arrest the spread of the pandemic.
After considering the evolving Covid-19 situation, foreigners were later on allowed to avail any kind of Indian visa other than tourist visa for entry and stay in India.
India has been recording 20,000-25,000 fresh infections on an average. The graph seems to be plateauing, the challenge has not ended yet, said the health ministry.
Overall positivity rate in the country is at 1.68% last week as compared to that of 5.86% earlier
Five states – Kerala, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Mizoram and Karnataka – have over 10,000 active Covid-19 cases at the moment. Kerala alone has over 1 lakh active Covid-19 cases currently.
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