In a bid to promote Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of making India a major destination for yoga and alternate medicine, the home ministry has decided to include short-term yoga programmes, including course, in the category of tourist visas and e-tourist visas. Applications received for tourist visas are normally processed faster and now, with the inclusion of yoga and alternate medicine programmes in this category, foreign nationals who want to pursue these will be able to do so without much hindrance.
In addition, the government has also decided to include “short-duration medical treatment under Indian systems of medicine” in the list of permissible activities under e-tourist visas.
“This move will help promote both yoga and Indian systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Unani across the world. There is growing awareness among foreigners for such things and the government is keen to promote India as a major centre for both yoga and alternate system of medicine,’’ a senior home ministry official said.
The ministry officials feel the move will give a further boost to tourism industry in the country as a lot of foreigners have been visiting India to learn yoga and alternate Indian medicine, particularly in Uttarakhand and Kerala.
At present, tourist visas are granted to those who want to visit India for recreation, sightseeing or to meet someone. Similarly, e-tourist visas are granted to foreigners with the same objective. The government has notified all Indian missions abroad and Foreigners Regional Registration Officers as well as Foreigners Registration Officers about these changes.
Prime Minister Modi had made a strong pitch for promoting yoga at the United Nations, following which 177 countries had co-sponsored a UN resolution for observing June 21 as International Yoga Day. The PM had himself participated in a mass yoga programme at Rajpath on June 21 last year