116 Indian Missions Abroad to 'Go Biometric' by 2017

Published: 18th February 2015 05:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th February 2015 05:59 AM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI:The Centre is likely to complete the biometric software installation for Immigration, Visa and Foreigners’ Registration & Tracking (IVFRT) in 116 Indian missions abroad by March 2017.

A Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) official on Tuesday said the project for secure and integrated service delivery framework to facilitate legitimate travellers while strengthening security scanning was part of the mission mode project and it had already covered several missions and Foreigners Regional Registration Offices (FRROs), Foreigners Registration Offices (FROs). The entire project will cost `638.90 crore.

The official said Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh briefed the Consultative Committee of MPs on the progress made by the agencies in implementing visa enabled by the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) to facilitate the tourist visa-on-arrival scheme.  The ETA, an important component of the IVFRT project, was launched in 44 countries in last November.

Rajnath is understood to have told the MPs that since the launch, 65,000 ETAs had been issued, which roughly translated into an average of 1,000 ETAs per day.

“The Home Minister also told the members that there had been a 421.6 per cent jump in tourist arrivals in December as compared to 2013,” the official said.

“In December 2013, the government had issued 2,700 visas while the number of ETAs issued was 14,083,” the official added.

The tourist visa-on-arrival, enabled by the ETA scheme, was launched for 44 countries by the BJP-NDA Government, which includes Australia, Brazil, Cambodia, Fiji, Finland, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Luxembourg, Mauritius, Mexico, Myanmar, New Zealand, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, UAE, Ukraine, USA and Vietnam.

The facility was made available at nine designated international airports of the country, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa, Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Bengaluru and Kolkata.

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