Medical Tourism in India – Visa norms need to be streamlined

Medical Tourism in India – Visa norms need to be streamlined

by admin, March 21, 2016

With increasing healthcare costs in the developed countries, India stands a fair chance of being one of the most favoured Medical Tourism destinations of the world. India stands to gain in this regard as cost is a major driver for most of the medical tourists across the globe. With a growing number of world class hospitals, equipped with latest machines, and manned by highly qualified doctors, India’s medical tourism industry looks forward to increase in size from $3 billion at present to around $8 billion by 2020.
Although the medical tourism industry in India is evolving with active participation of all the key segments of this fast growing sector, some pro active steps need to be taken by the Government to accelerate and scale up growth of this major revenue earner of the country.
Streamlining Visa norms is an area which needs immediate attention from the Indian government. Presently, those coming to India for medical treatments have to apply for M-visa or medical visa, which is issued subject to some conditions. The attendants and family members have to apply for MX-visa. Also patients coming from SAARC countries can apply for fast track medical visa, with a few additional requirements to be fulfilled by those coming from Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Special medical visas help in keeping track of the visiting patient as well as the procedure he/she has undergone, thus minimizing chances of any illegal organ transplant or any other related issue.
But the procedure of obtaining medical visa has its own set of problems too. Besides higher expenses, the waiting period of getting medical visa is long due to additional procedures involved, and the physical presence of patients is required at embassies, as well as there are restrictions on multiple-entry medical visas. These as well as many other complications often compel medical tourists to come on tourist visas. But patients coming to India for medical purposes on a tourist visa often do not have prior appointments resulting in delays as well as face problems in transfer of payments.
Also all medical tourists coming to India do not necessarily come for surgery or treatment of diseases. A vast majority visit India for rejuvenation in its traditional centers based on ancient medicinal sciences, of which 99 medical, 28 AYUSH as well as 16 wellness and rejuvenation centers have been given accreditation by NABH. Besides financial growth, increase of visitors in this segment will popularize the Indian medical system around the world.
Hence, to avoid all of these technical glitches as well as to capture complete data of medical tourists, the Government of India should work pro actively to come up with new norms of granting medical visa like it grants e-tourist visa. This will definitely help the visiting patients as well as their families, besides realizing the full potential of India in becoming a medical tourism hub of the world.

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