India Sticks with Biometric Screening for Visa Applicants

India Sticks with Biometric Screening for Visa ApplicantsIndia’s Home Ministry is going to keep collecting tourists’ biometrics when they apply for visas, and not reduce the practice to be applied only upon tourists’ arrival at the country, as the External Affairs Ministry had requested.

Echoing concerns from the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of External Affairs had cautioned that the Immigration, Visa and Foreigners Registration & Tracking, or IVFRT, system would discourage visitors from coming to India, especially given the relative dearth of facilities at which potential visitors could register their biometrics. Indeed, there was recently some grumbling in a major British publication about the program, with would-be tourists in that country upset about the difficulties of registering their biometric data. Getting such onerous conditions out of the way, Indian officials suggested, could boost India’s share of global tourism from 0.68 percent to one percent.

But the Home Ministry insists on continuing the practice, citing security concerns. It may reflect a broader interest in biometric identification on the part of India’s government, whose Aadhaar biometric citizen registry is perhaps the most ambitious such project in the world.

Source: The Indian Express

June 26, 2015 – by Alex Perala