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Visa-on-arrival to be extended to 150 countries: Jaitley

Source: PTI
February 28, 2015 20:31 IST
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Students wave national flags in Chandigarh.After tasting success in scaling up number of foreign tourists through visa-on-arrival enabled electronic travel authorisation for 43 countries, government is geared up to extend the facility to 150 countries in a phased manner.

"After the success of visa-on-arrival issued to travellers of 43 countries, I propose to increase the countries covered to 150, in stages," Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said presenting the Budget 2015-16 in Lok Sabha on Saturday.

In January 2015, a total of 25,023 tourists arrived by availing the scheme as compared to 1,903 in January 2014, registering a growth of 1,214.9 per cent.

Government had earlier launched the scheme on November 27 last year for 43 countries. Prior to it, the scheme was in operation for only 12 countries.

Budget 2015: Complete Coverage

Tourism Ministry was allocated Rs 1,573 crore (Rs 15.73 billion) in the 2015-16 fiscal as against the revised estimate of Rs 1,182.99 crore (Rs 11.82 billion) for the previous fiscal.

Culture Ministry has got Rs 2,169 crore (Rs 21.69 billion) for the next fiscal as against Rs 2,159 crore (Rs 21.59 billion) in the revised estimate for the last financial year.

While India has 25 cultural World Heritage Sites, these facilities are still deficient and require restoration, including landscape restoration, signage and interpretation centres, parking facilities, access for the differently abled, visitors' amenities, including securities and toilets, illumination and plans for benefiting communities around them.

"I propose to provide resources to start work along these lines for the nine Heritage Sites including churches and convents of old Goa, Hampi (Karnataka), Elephanta Caves

(Mumbai), Kumbalgarh and other hill forts of Rajasthan, Rani ki Vav at Patan in Gujarat, Leh Palace in Ladakh, Varanasi temple town in UP, Jalianwalabagh at Amritsar in Punjab and Qutub Shahi tombs in Hyderabad," Jaitley said.

Image: Students wave national flags in Chandigarh. Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters

Budget 2015: Complete Coverage

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