Terror threat forces India to revisit tourist, conference visa norms

The government has received a number of representations on conference visa norms, requesting it to reconsider the revised guidelines

The Indian government on Tuesday said that it was ready to revisit the new guidelines issued for granting tourist and conference visas if there were genuine grievances, reports PTI.

Home secretary Gopal K Pillai said that the government has received a number of representations requesting it to reconsider the revised guidelines.

"Government makes rules, government makes regulations which may not be correct. But in a democracy there is a system, we correct ourselves if a mistake is made. If (an) error is made, we correct them," Mr Pillai said while addressing a seminar on ‘Thought Policing or Fighting Terror; Home Ministry's Curbs on Foreign Scholars’.

Later, Mr Pillai told reporters, "We have received a number of representations (on conference visas) and we are examining them. This is under consideration".

His comments came when asked whether there was any move to revisit the new guidelines for conference visas.

According to the revised guidelines for conference visas, prior security clearance from the home ministry is required for participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Sudan, foreigners of Pakistani origin and stateless persons.

Besides, the home ministry's clearance is also required if the participation involves a visit to restricted or protected areas in India or to areas affected by terrorism, militancy and extremism, like Jammu & Kashmir and the North Eastern states, and if the conference involves politically sensitive subjects.

Referring to the restrictions imposed on issuing tourist visas, the home secretary said that the government was open to amend any rules if there was any 'mistake'.

Mr Pillai wondered how many of the six million genuine tourists, who visit India every year, would like to come back to India within 60 days. "Six million tourists come and go. How many of them come within 60 days? Possibly not even 0.1% of the total number of tourists," he said.

The recent guidelines on tourist visas stipulate a gap of at least two months between two visits to the country. Mr Pillai, however, said that the government was ready to examine if any genuine tourist is harassed following the new guidelines.

"If the problem is of that 0.1%, we are ready to see how best that can be corrected. The government is willing to see how best the problem of that 0.1% people is solved. But no decision can satisfy all people. That is part of the problem. That is the government system," he said.

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    1 decade ago

    Does the govt not realise what it is going to do to its people with these new rules. How many people will go hungry when tourist go else where

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