The West Bengal government has announced plans to streamline the medical visa process for Bangladeshi patients, reducing the waiting period from one to one and a half months to just 48 hours.
This initiative comes as a response to the increasing number of Bangladeshis seeking medical treatment in India, with 2.47 million reported in 2021.
To further streamline the process, the state government is set to launch a dedicated portal to facilitate swift visa issuance for Bangladeshi patients seeking treatment in West Bengal.
Rajeev Kumar, the principal secretary of the Department of Information Technology and Electronics, West Bengal, recently conducted a meeting with private hospitals in the state to discuss and implement this initiative.
President of the Association of Hospitals of Eastern India, Rupak Barua, said, “The state plans to expand the scope of medical tourism. If the visa process is simplified, more people will be able to come to the state for treatment.”
The portal’s development is already in progress, with an anticipated launch within the next two weeks. From the beginning of the next year, citizens of Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan will benefit from the expedited visa facility, ensuring approval within 48 hours of application.
A health department official in West Bengal emphasised that the primary objective is to make the portal patient-centric, providing clear information about the entire visa application process to the families of patients. The portal aims to offer transparency into the workings of hospitals in the state.
Further meetings are scheduled to fine-tune the details, with representatives from the Bangladesh embassy expected to be present in the upcoming discussions.
The recently concluded Bengal Global Business Summit also addressed the medical visa issue, with insights from Dr Devi Shetty, a renowned physician and head of the Narayana Health Group.
A substantial portion of Bangladeshi patients seeking treatment in India typically visit West Bengal before moving on to other medical hubs such as Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Mumbai, and Delhi. The Business Standard