Over 107,000 Indians brought back under Vande Bharat Mission. Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, over 107,000 stranded Indians have been brought back to the country from different parts of the world in two phases under the government’s Vande Bharat Mission, the External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday.
“After the commencement of the Vande Bharat Mission from May 7, a total of 454 flights, including foreign carriers, have brought back stranded Indians,” Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement.
“As of date, 107,123 Indians have returned. These include 17,485 migrant workers, 11,511 students and 8,633 professionals,” Srivastava said.

“More than 32,000 Indians have returned through land border immigration checkpoints from Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. A total of 348,565 persons have registered their requests with our missions for repatriation to India on compelling grounds.” The second phase of the Vande Bharat Mission started on May 17 and will continue till June 13.  According to the spokesperson, so far, Air India has operated 103 flights under this phase to bring back stranded Indian nationals.

The Indian Navy also made sorties to bring back stranded Indians from Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
“In addition to these, after the Ministry of Home Affairs’ guidelines of May 24, 2020, the process of non-scheduled commercial flights has also been streamlined,” Srivastava said. “This has resulted in further facilitation of Indians returning by chartered flights and Air Ambulances. There is a significant increase in the number of returnees via land borders too with the finalisation of guidelines in this regard.”

The list if flights under the third phase of Vande Bharat Mission, which has already been announced, has been made available on the External Affairs Ministry website. This phase covers more sectors and will create additional hubs in remote regions. According to Srivastava, around 38,000 persons are expected to be repatriated under this phase in 337 international flights from 31 countries, including 54 from US, 24 from Canada, and 11 from six African countries – Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Seychelles, and Mauritius.  He further said that the Ministry’s Covid-19 Control Room is being manned 24×7 since March 16. The control room has received more than 25,000 calls and 66,000 emails till 8 a.m. on June 4.

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