- The home ministry has proposed to the foreign ministry that internet payment gateways be operationalised for all Indian embassies abroad to allow visa seekers to pay fee online rather than with postal orders or bank drafts.
- The home ministry is also operationalising internet payment gateways for all FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) and citizenship services to cut down on public interface at its sensitive foreigners division.
- Officials said this will help check corruption and speed up decision making.
- The plan has been approved by home minister Rajnath Singh.
- Under the current system, it is possible to apply online for visas, NGO registrations and renewal requests or citizenship.
- But the fee cannot be paid online and the applicant has to take a printout of the online application, attach a bank draft or postal order and submit it in person.
- The process will be online in the real sense and applicants will not have to physically come to the foreigners division or the Foreigner Regional Registration Office (FRRO).
- Indian embassies in major countries such as the US and UK have outsourced the visa application process to companies that accept online payment of visa fee but this facility is not available at all Indian embassies abroad.
- The new Electronic Tourist Visa process offered by India to 74 countries has an online payment gateway, though. The home ministry now wants all visa services in all embassies abroad to embrace this.
Source:The Economic Times