India plans easy visa norms to attract foreign patients

India plans easy visa norms to attract foreign patients
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Islam News – The Indian government has drawn up a plan to augment the medical infrastructures of 17 cities, which see an inflow of a lot of overseas patients for treatment and wellness therapies, in a bid to boost medical travel as part of its ‘Heal in India’ initiative.

Besides, the Indian health ministry is working on easing medical visa norms and other requirements for patients and their companions from 44 countries identified based on the number of patients visiting India, and the quality and cost of medical treatment there, official sources told PTI. These are predominantly African, Latin American countries and also members of the SAARC and Gulf Cooperation Council groupings, they said.

Through ‘Heal In India’, the government aims at positioning the country as a global hub for medical and wellness tourism, and a destination of choice for quality healthcare services. The Union Health Ministry is collaborating with Tourism, Ayush, Civil Aviation ministries, hospitals, and other stakeholders to build a roadmap to connect overseas patients with healthcare facilities in India to boost medical travel.

As part of executing the initiative, a nodal agency — Medical Value Travel Council — co-chaired by the health and tourism ministries has been formed to create an institutional framework for streamlined integration of all stakeholders, official sources said. According to estimates, the medical tourism market which was valued at $6 billion in the 2020 fiscal is expected to more than double and reach $13 billion by 2026.

Thirty-seven hospitals including 30 in the private sector across 17 cities in 12 states have been identified for promoting medical value travel, a source said. The cities that will be targeted in phase one of the initiative are New Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Gurugram, Bangaluru, Amritsar, Kochi, Coimbatore, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guntur, Alappuzha, Guwahati, Chennai, Chandigarh, Vellore, and Hyderabad.

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