Indian Old Medical Visa Need Changes for Better Reputation

March 13, 2018

The government of India started the medical visa thinking it would boost medical tourism since people get world class quality service at much lower rates as compared to developed countries like the US. Also, people from India’s neighboring countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan visit the country for getting medical treatment as technology isn’t much developed in these countries.

But the idea seems to have failed after India liberalized the medical visa, meaning that compulsorily foreigner needs a medical visa to undergo surgery or any medical treatment. If a person comes on a tourist visa, he can get a consultation done but not surgery or treatment. The same happened with Premkumar, an Indian living in Montreal, Canada. After trying for an Indian medical visa, he gave up and got the tourist visa for getting a checkup done. Indian doctors found out that he had very high blood glucose levels and needed a metabolic surgery to reduce his weight so that the levels will be controlled.

However, since he didn’t have a medical visa, the doctors refused to operate as it is punishable by law. A medical visa should be only for elective surgeries because some medical decisions need to be taken on the spot after the patient finds out about them. Making the visa liberalized has only made matters worse for the Indian economy.

Why did India need to reconsider the liberalization?

Firstly, India has been delaying the medical visa approval process, which keeps people waiting for months. In fact, it was designed to issue visas for medical emergencies within a few working days as travel visa took anywhere between three weeks to a month. Secondly, even though Modi started the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, nothing much has changed regarding medical hygiene, and thirdly more prominent hospitals charge at least 20 to 50 percent extra fees from foreign tourists. The whole process needs to stop immediately.

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