The official Indian visa card has been issued to hundreds of thousands of Indians who wish to travel abroad for business, leisure and pleasure.
A few months ago, the number of applications received by the Home Ministry rose to a whopping 1,547,000, a jump of over 25 percent from the previous year.
However, there is a catch: the Indian government does not allow anyone to use the card for travel beyond India.
This is the second year in a row that the government has refused to issue the card.
The government has been in the midst of a campaign to introduce a digital card, with a mobile app, which will allow anyone from anywhere in the world to use it.
The app, called ‘Visa Card for India’, will be launched in early 2017 and will be free of charge to citizens of countries that have signed up for the scheme.
This will help Indian travellers get around the world more easily.
However, the issue of the government’s refusal to issue a Visa Card for Indians is not unique to the country.
In April this year, the US Congress voted to ban the Visa Card and replace it with the digital Visa.
The new Visa card will be issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
As per a Reuters report, India is the only country that does not require its citizens to have a passport to enter the country, and has a national passport scheme.
On Monday, Indian prime minister Narendra Modi announced the introduction of a new Visa Card, which he hopes will ease visa restrictions for Indians in the US.
“We are ready to work towards a new visa card in the coming days,” Mr Modi said.
“India has been the only foreign country to issue its own Visa Card with a digital format.”
This was in response to the US Supreme Court’s ruling that Visa cards are illegal under the Americans Immigration and Nationality Act.
In May this year the Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by the government of Pakistan, which sought to overturn the ruling and allow the issuance of a digital visa card.
India, however, was one of only two countries in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to issue passports in the digital format.
Follow The Hindu on Twitter at www.twitter.com/thehindu