Vande Bharat Mission brings home 23,754 stranded Indians over last 15 days

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 22, 2020

A family sanitize their hands at Kannur International Airport after arriving from Dubai via an Air India flight under the Vande Bharat Mission.

Second phase will continue till June 13 covering 47 countries

A total of 23,754 Indian nationals stranded around the world have been brought back to the country in non-scheduled commercial flights under the Vande Bharat Mission over the last two weeks, as per figures released by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

The second phase of the mission, which began on May 16, will continue till June 13, bringing back Indians from 47 countries on 162 non-scheduled flights run on a commercial basis, said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at an official briefing on Thursday.

“In the second phase, we are including places like Istanbul, Ho Chi Minh City and Lagos and increasing flights to the USA and Europe. We are also looking at developing Frankfurt as a hub,” said Srivastava.

The repatriated Indians include 4,883 workers, 4,196 students and 3,087 professionals among others.

The demand for the flights is huge with as many as 2,59,001 people registered to return from 98 countries. The Civil Aviations Ministry is in discussions with private airlines so that the number of flights under the mission can be increased.

Among those who have registered to return, there are 28 per cent workers, 25 per cent students, about 14.5 per cent professionals and 7.6 per cent short-term visa holders like tourists -7.6 per cent, the MEA stated. The others include fishermen, deportees and those granted amnesty.

“We are also receiving our nationals stranded abroad on board flights from other countries which are coming in to evacuate nationals of those countries. We are bringing back our nationals from far flung areas like Argentina, South Africa, Peru and Mongolia,” the spokesperson said.

Published on May 22, 2020

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