State to start new portal to give medical VISA in 2 days
Kolkata: The Bengal government is keen on introducing a new portal thereby issuing medical VISA in two days.
The portal will cater to the patients coming to the state from Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries. Bengal registers a huge number of Bangladeshi patients every year who visit various city hospitals for treatment.
Currently one requires one to one-and-a-half-month to get a VISA.
The State Information and Technology (IT) department is trying to ensure that the VISA can be given within two days. A top official of the department has recently held a meeting with the private hospitals.
Bengal may witness an influx of foreign tourists if the concept of medical tourism is implemented and the VISA procedure is simplified.
According to state government sources, the portal may be made functional within the next two weeks. The patients from the neighbouring countries will be able to apply online through the portal and VISA will be issued within 48 hours. It will also provide the patients and their relatives ‘logistic and transparent information’. Medical VISA issue was taken up during the recently concluded Bengal Global Business Summit.
According to data, in 2021 over 24 lakh medical tourists came to India from Bangladesh for treatment. Apart from Bangladesh, tourists also come from Nepal and Bhutan as well. During a meeting with the king of Bhutan on a visit, the Bengal chief minister, Mamata Banerjee last year lobbied for medical tourism, as the cost of care in Calcutta is affordable and of high quality, sources said.
The Bengal government is seeking to emulate the southern Indian states as well that are centres of medical tourism, especially for people from neighbouring South Asian countries.
Iranians and Afghans seek medical treatment in Delhi; tourists from the French colony of Reunion and Mauritius flock to Chennai and Puducherry, combining health and social care with tourism. Bengal is particularly popular with medical tourists from Bangladesh whose growing middle class represents an excellent market for Bengal, an official said.