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QUESTION NO.481 HENLEY PASSPORT INDEX

November 20, 2019

LOK SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.481
TO BE ANSWERED ON 20.11.2019

481. DR. (PROF.) KIRIT PREMJIBHAI SOLANKI:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether the Government is aware about India's low ranking among BRICS countries as per the annual Henley Passport Index and if so, the details thereof;

(b) the reasons why Indian passport holders do not enjoy visa free access which is "visa on arrival” a visitor's permit, or an electronic travel authority in comparison with the passport holders of other BRICS nations;

(c) the steps taken by the Government to improve visa free access to Indian passport holders; and

(d) the list of countries in which Indians can travel with ease due to availability of visa free access?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
[SHRI V. MURALEEDHARAN]

(a) As per information available on the website www.henleypassportindex.com, the Henley Passport Index ranks all the passports of the world according to the number of countries their holders can travel without a prior visa. The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association and lists the countries that can be accessed visa-free, with an electronic visa (e-TA), or with a visa on arrival.

According to the Henley Passport Index 2019 available on this website, India is ranked at 82.

(b) & (c) Extension of Visa on Arrival and Visa free Entry is a unilateral decision of the receiving country. The Government has been continuously liberalizing the visa policy with the objective of promoting investments and tourism into India from other countries. The e-Visa scheme has been further liberalized to allow business visits and medical treatment in India. The number of entries and validity of e-Visas has been increased and the scheme has been expanded to include 169 countries and territories till date. These initiatives are expected to encourage other countries to reciprocate and facilitate travel of Indian passport holders to their countries. As more countries permit Indian passport holders to visit Visa Free or grant them Visa on Arrival facility, the rank of the Indian passport on the Henley Passport Index is expected to improve.

(d) 16 countries provide visa free entry facility to Indian passport holders as at Annexure-I. List of 38 countries that offer visa on arrival is at Annexure-II and list of 35 countries that offer e-Visa facility to Indian passport holders is at Annexure-III.

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