The Indian government has always taken efforts to ensure that the Indian diaspora stays connected to their roots. As a step to further those efforts, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojna (PTDY) in January, 2019.
The program aims to promote religious tourism in India. The program is sometimes also referred to as a Special Know India Program (KIP)
Under the PTDY program, elderly PIOs can now visit India on a government-sponsored religious trip. Two 15-day trips will be organized each year, and each lot will have 40 members.
The details regarding the program are as follows.
Who is Eligible?
Heads of Mission (HOMs) for the program in partnering countries recommend PIOs for the program. And the Ministry of External Affairs, GoI, selects applicants from those recommendations.
The eligibility criteria for the Parvasi Teerth Darshan Yojna are –
- The applicant must be 45 to 65 years old and physically fit to travel.
- The applicant should be visiting India for the first time. (This means NRIs who have lived in India before gaining NRI status are not qualified, but NRI children who have never been to India can apply for the program.)
- The documents showing proof of Indian origin should be available. (In cases where they are necessary).
- Only applicants from lower-income groups can apply for this program. The applicant’s financial position should be such that they would not have been able to visit India on their own accord. And there should be relevant documents to prove this.
Though the program is open to all PIOs, preference is given to the following category of applicants –
- Applicants from the seven Girmitiya countries. These countries include Fiji, Guyana, Mauritius, South Africa, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, and Reunion Island.
Note: The HOMs from each country can recommend a maximum of ten applicants. The Ministry of external affairs should receive these applications through the KIP portal.
- Senior applicants will get preference over others.
How To Apply for PTDY
The applications for PTDY have to be submitted to the Consular Post or Indian Diplomatic Mission in the area of your residence. Attested photographs and other relevant documents are also required.
The applications should follow the prescribed format. And you can visit the KIP portal to know when the applications are being accepted.
Things To Know About the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojna
Some of the must-know details about the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojna include –
- It is a government-sponsored program, but not completely free. The applicants have to pay 10% of the international airfare costs. The rest, 90%, will be paid for by the Indian government. Visas for the trip will be issued gratis.
- The duration of the entire trip will be 15 days. This will include the day of arrival and the day of departure too.
- The trip will cover religious destinations of all religions and faiths.
- Accommodation will be on a twin-sharing basis (paid for by the GoI). And it will be in a 4-star hotel.
- The government provides meals and local transportation for the entire duration of the trip.
- All the travel arrangements will be in 2-Tier AC railway coaches. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd (IRCTC) will manage these arrangements.
Another important point to be noted here is that the decision of the MEA will be considered final in case of application acceptance or other issues.
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