sushma swaraj
External Affairs Minister Sushma SwarajReuters

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj announced the government's plans to further liberalise the visa regime for tourism, business and other sectors on Sunday during a valedictory session of the Global Investors Meet held in Indore.

"We plan to further liberalise our visa regime for tourism, business as well as other areas shortly. Visa was one of the areas of concern for foreigners and Indians living abroad. With the launch of the e-visa scheme, tourist arrivals in India have steadily increased. The 25 million strong Indian diaspora, comprising NRIs and PIOs, are a significant force for promoting India's interests abroad," Swaraj said.

"The government has already taken steps to address these concerns. The OCI and PIO cards have been merged and a system has been put in place for welfare and protection of Indian immigrant workers," she added while stating that the initiatives were prompted by the government's mission to transform the country.

Swaraj also used the opportunity to assert the achievements of the Madhya Pradesh government spearheaded by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan in a bid to woo the investors present at the event. For instance, Swaraj said that state recorded a stellar average growth of 9.5 percent in the last three years.

"With an urban population of 28 per cent, Madhya Pradesh has the seventh largest urban population in India. With an extensive road network, five commercial airports, 18.9 gigawatts of installed power capacity, surplus water and industrial land bank the state has become one of the most preferred destinations for both domestic and foreign direct investment," she added.

The External Affairs Minister also said the new industrial promotion policy brought out by the state has helped create an empowered and effective single window system for time-bound clearance of approvals.

"I am sure that with this forward-looking approach and conducive business climate, the state will continue to grow at a fast pace in the years to come," she said.