Government ready to review tourist, conference visasMarch 9th, 2010 - 7:28 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) Home Secretary G.K. Pillai Tuesday indicated the government was agreeable to re-examine the new guidelines issued for granting tourist and conference visas if there were real grievances and said the ministry has received a number of representations.
“The government makes rules and 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 it,” he said here addressing a seminar, ‘Thought Policing or Fighting Terror?’.
Tightening up visa procedures, the union home ministry last month asked all central ministries and state chief secretaries to strictly adhere to the revised procedure for grant of visas to foreigners coming to India to attend international conferences and seminars.
According to the new guidelines, security clearance for grant of conference visa would be required for participants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sudan and in respect of foreigners of Pakistani-origin and stateless persons.
“We have received a number of representations and we are examining them. This is under consideration,” he later told reporters.
Recent guidelines on tourist visa specify a gap of at least two months between two visits to the country.
“Six million tourists come and go. How many of them come within 60 days? Possibly not even 0.1 per cent of the total number of tourists,” he said.
In December last year, the home ministry issued directions through the external affairs ministry to all missions abroad that any applicant for an Indian visa who has any sort of Pakistani lineage, even if it is two generations back, must be referred to Delhi for prior clearance.
This was after Laskhar-e-Taiba suspect David Coleman Headley, currently in detention in the US, made use of a multiple-entry business visa to make nine trips to India that included long periods of stay when he prepared footage of 26/11 targets.
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