The Union Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry has announced that the foreign nationals applying for a visa to travel to India will now have to fill up a questionnaire to keep away the child sexual abusers from coming to India.
The measure involves the declaration of their criminal records, if there are any, and if they have been denied a visa in the past because of a pending case.
As per the WCD officials, the implementation was initiated about a month ago through the Bureau of Immigration that functions under Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Earlier, the WCD Ministry had urged the MHA to introduce the changes made in the visa application process.
WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi took to Twitter to express her delight. She said, "I am very pleased to inform you that our request to revise the visa application process for foreign nationals travelling to India to declare any criminal record, in view of prevention of sexual abuse of children, has been accepted."
"It has now been decided that an appropriate questionnaire and a declaration will be incorporated in the visa application form which will have to be filled up by visa applicants/ foreign nationals," Gandhi continued to say in her tweet.
She said that her request to Home Minister Rajnath Singh to introduce such questionnaire was based on complaints of serial child sexual abusers managing to visit India from other countries.
In January 2017, Gandhi had written to the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj requesting to make changes in visa format to restrict the entry of foreign nationals convicted of child abuse into India.
"Have requested Smt @SushmaSwaraj ji to revise visa format so foreign nationals with criminal record of child abuse don't enter India," she had said in a tweet.
"At present, foreign nationals do not have to declare their record of criminal prosecution for visas to travel to India. Have requested that Indian visa format should include a declaration of criminal record," the tweet added.