NEW DELHI: In a major decision aimed at improving immigration services at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in the national capital, the Centre has decided to set up 20 immigration and 35 e-visa counters to shorten the queues and facilitate smooth travel for both the foreign and domestic flyers.
The Union Home Ministry decision comes in the backdrop of a commotion at the airport two days back at the arrival counter due to shortage of sufficient number of counters.
Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba chaired a meeting here on Wednesday to discuss various measures including technology upgradation, provision of modern equipment, additional space, professional manpower and the like for improving immigration services at Delhi Airport. Senior officers of the Home Affairs, Bureau of Immigration (BoI), National Informatics Centre (NIC) and Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) attended the meet.
With a view to improve the immigration services, the Ministry decided that DIAL will provide additional space for at least 10 more immigration counters at “Departure area” by November 15, 2017. BoI will provide manpower and other equipment like passport reading machines, computers and web cameras among others to make these counters functional by November 20, 2017.
DIAL will also take measures to provide space for another 10 immigration counters for facilitation of travellers in the ‘Departure area’. These counters will be functional by January next year.
Besides the 20 immigration counters, at least 10 e-Visa counters will be made functional for electronic Visa facility for foreigners by November 30, 2017. In addition to the 10 e-visa counters to be operationalised by November end, another 25 electronic Visa facility will be made functional by January next year.
The additional e-visa counters will facilitate foreigners availing electronic visa which is becoming increasingly popular, the Home Ministry said.
The Bureau of Immigration will provide additional manpower of 1,800 personnel for improving immigration services by filling up vacant posts, inducting personnel from Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and also some ex-servicemen. This will augment manpower strength at immigration counters to enable Immigration Officers to provide professional and courteous service to the travellers, the ministry said.
“These decisions will substantially improve Immigration services at Delhi International Airport which will facilitate not only foreigners coming to India, but also Indian travellers visiting abroad,” the Ministry said in a statement.
The meeting chaired by Gauba followed after the Home Ministry took cognizance of recent reports about long queues at Delhi International Airport during peak hours. Senior officers of the Home Ministry and Bureau of Immigration subsequently visited Delhi International Airport for an on-the-spot assessment.
“Government has policy to encourage foreigners to come to India for tourism, medical tourism, business, studies etc. Several initiatives have been taken to improve Visa and immigration services to encourage foreigners to visit India and to provide them a pleasant experience, added the statement.