As usual habit of reading the News at the time I have some space to do so, I stumbled on the article that India extended the Visa on Arrival (VoA) to 9 of its International airports from existing 4. This has been done with the purpose of enhancing tourism industry. This had already brought success in past with an increased influx by 63%. But will this be the only measure that would increase the influx of tourists? The certain answer is "No" as there is a lack of Security Attribute for the visiting tourists. And this is not just my own concern, this is the concern of the readers of that article on Time of India. It is imperative for the Government to enhance the Overall security measures to secure the tourists visiting India and at the same time train the Inland Security Forces (read Police Force) to NOT harass the Foreigners as they otherwise carry negative image of India and Indians with them creating Negative Publicity for India and thus hitting the Tourism Programs.
Another aspect that Indian Government needs to ensure is to enhance Additional Security Measures at the Airports with inclusion of Biometric measures to verify the identity of the foreign nationals as well as the citizens. This is nothing new as the major countries in EU as well as USA and Canada have this implemented where they do collect the Finger prints and at times the iris patterns for identity establishment. This by far is the best known solution and certainly least abusable one. There can be counter points on how this can be bypassed, but please note that if someone tries to fake finger prints, the devices can highlight that pretty easily (if implemented in the correct fashion). For I have been involved with Biometric device implementation studies and the corrective measures that can be brought in, I can vouch for the technology.
(My Sincere thanks to Rajveer Singh - A fellow Reader on Times of India, to have ignited the idea on this side. Full credits to him).
So, as I conclude, I would like to summarize as two steps must be taken by the GOI -
- Ramp us the overall Inland Security Posture in the country
- Implement the Biometric Technologies at the airports
Well and ensure that the Visa officers deployed at the Airports are NOT Corrupt...the most vital step for that matter.
Just to add - "The group VoA facility has been extended to all countries excluding Afghanistan, China, Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Pakistan and foreigners of Pakistani origin." so that's a welcome step :)