The government is planning to operate 149 repatriation flights to 31 countries between May 16 and May 22 during the second phase of the Vande Bharat mission to bring back home Indians stranded abroad amid the coronavirus-triggered lockdown, sources said on Tuesday.
The scope of the second phase is much larger than the first.
As part of the ongoing first phase, AI and its subsidiary Air India Express are operating 64 flights from May 7-14 to bring approximately 15,000 Indians from 12 countries home. Passengers are paying for the journey.
In the second phase, flights will be operated from European countries like France, Germany and Italy, Ireland and South-east Asian countries like Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand aside from Russia and Central asian nations like Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, Tajikistan and Belarus. Other countries in the schedule also include Canada, Australia, Japan, Armenia, Nepal and Nigeria.
Just In: 2nd phase of repatriation flights will be launched from May 16 to 22. It will bring back Indians from 31 countries. 149 flights to be deployed.
— Shubhajit Roy (@ShubhajitRoy) May 12, 2020
Flights to destinations from the first phase such as UAE, USA, UK, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bangladesh will continue.
The rules for bringing Indians back were spelt out in the first phase itself. However, sources said that there could be some modifications in the second phase.
Those who want to leave the country will also have to fulfill a specific criterion. Outbound-travellers also have to fulfil conditions imposed by destination countries.
According to sources, there may be some changes in rules for outbound travellers also.
There are about 1.4 crore Indians overseas, at present. So far, about 3 lakh Indians have registered from the Gulf region alone, but sources said Indian embassies will ascertain those who have “compelling reasons” to return.
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