NEW DELHI --
When overseas Indians land in India this winter,
they can look forward to speedy immigration clearance with
electronic visa system, reports
Swami Anand Kul Bhushan.
This visa is
essentially a paper-free visa that is not stamped or added into
It is identified electronically when checking-in by the
airline and then checked by an Immigration Officer on arrival.
So it is much quicker than the traditional paper visa
inserted into passports without the rubber stamps.
The electronic visa is one of the announcements made by
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the Budget on 10 July 2014.
He said this system will be implemented within the next six
months for a number of countries that send the maximum number of
tourists to India: UK, USA, Russia, France and Germany at nine
Customs clearance will be easier as a free travel allowance
of goods worth Rs. 45,000 has been announced.
This is an increase of Rs. 10,000.
So you can indulge in more duty free shopping or brings more
gifts for your friends and relatives.
This allowance does not include your personal effects
including a laptop or a tablet, a mobile phone, a camera, a pair
of binoculars and so on.
When you travel in a Radio-cab for greater security and
comfort, you will pay a trifle more with a new measures
You can look forward to improved maintenance and conservation
of the most visited pilgrimage venues in India in the near
future because the budget announced a Rs. 200 crore project for
major upgrading of Amritsar and Mathura in North India;
Kanchipuram and Vellakuram in South India, Ajmer in Rajasthan in
addition to cleaning the Ganges.
Cleaning Ganges is a national priority for the Modi
government and high level meetings have been held to start this
massive cleanup at a cost of billions of Rupees.
Amritsar with its Golden Temple, the holiest place of worship
for the Sikhs, needs cleaning and upgrading of its tourism
So does Mathura, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, revered by
Ajmer Sharif in Rajasthan with the shrine of the Sufi saint
Khawaja Moinuddin Chisti is equally revered by both Muslims and
Hindus. Just 14 kilometers away is Pushkar town, famous for its
temples and the annual camel fair.
In Tamil Nadu, Kanchipuram is a spectacular temple city of
one of the most sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites located just 70
kilometers from Chennai.
This city presents the glorious traditions of South India
with its temples and silk saris. Vellakulam is a typical
village, 525 kilometers from Chennai, within easy distance from
other noted tourist spots: Madurai, Sivakasi, Dindigul,
Kodaikanal and Pariyar.
The Buddhist circuit of Sarnath-Gaya-Varanasi will be
developed with an investment of Rs 100 crore to provide world
class facilities to pilgrims.
Five new tourist circuits with specific themes will be
developed with an investment of Rs. 500 crore.
This ambitious project will be complemented with a Rs. 100
crore programme called National Mission on Pilgrim Rejuvenation
and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD) for heritage and
Thus pilgrimages of the major religions in India have been
These pilgrim venues are visited by hundreds of thousands of
Indian devotees and foreign tourists every year.
The new government has clearly highlighted its priority to
boost tourism not only to provide better facilities for all
visitors but also to create more jobs and incomes for the
Indian tourism took a dip following the global financial
crisis in 2009 but quickly rebounded in 2010.
One of the reasons is the high number of overseas Indians who
visit their motherland for pilgrimages and family reasons.