NEW DELHI: With an eye on the USD 80 billion dollar yoga market worldwide, the Union government has amended its rules for grant of an e-Tourist Visa to India to include short-duration visits to learn yoga or to undergo treatment under Indian systems of medicine.
Currently, a tourist visa to Indian is granted to foreigners only for recreation, sightseeing and casual visits to friends or relatives.
The move is an effort by the Union government to put India back in the reckoning in the global yoga and alternative medicine markets. The move is likely to give a boost to Indian yoga exponents as well as practitioners of alternative healing systems in India.
While yoga originated in India, the United States has emerged as the hub for yoga. However, training sessions in India cost almost 100 times less than in the US.
“Realizing the spread and importance of yoga the world over, the government has decided to include attending a short-term yoga programme in the list of permissible activities under e-Tourist Visa,” a Home Ministry statement said.
All Indian missions abroad and the Foreigners Regional Registration Officers (FRROs)/Foreigners Registration Officers (FROs) in the country have been requested to take action as per the latest amendments, the statement said.
This is the second step by India to corner the yoga market, the first being the move to observe June 21 asInternational Yoga Day. Last year Prime Minister Narendra Modi had led the event held at Rajpath in New Delhi.
This year, International Yoga Day celebrations, to be organised by the Department of Ayush, will be hosted by Chandigarh.