The Indian government began one of the biggest repatriation operation - the Vande Bharat mission - on Thursday to bring back Indian citizens stranded across the globe. The operation which is spread over seven days is expected to operate a total of 64 flights and naval ships as well to 11 countries and bring back around 14,800 people. Stranded citizens will be tested before boarding the flight and only asymptomatic individuals will be allowed. The Ministry of Home Affairs has also issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the evacuation and has said that it will prioritise the distressed in foreign countries.
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Here are further details about the Vande Bharat Mission :
- A total number of 64 flights carrying approximately 15,000 returnees from 12 countries are expected to land at 14 airports across India during Week 1 from May 7-15, 2020.
- As of now, 4 flights have already landed in India. On May 7, 2020 - Air India flight IX-452 from Abu Dhabi to Kochi with 181 passengers and Air India flight IX-344 from Dubai to Kozhikode with 182 passengers. All passengers from UAE underwent rapid anti-body tests before departure. On May 8, 2020 – AI 381 with 234 passengers from Singapore to Delhi and AI 1242 with 168 passengers from Dhaka to Srinagar.
- A total number of 27 flights shall take off from the Gulf region during Week 1 - UAE-11 (including the 2 that have already landed), Saudi Arabia-5, Kuwait-5, Bahrain-2, Qatar-2 and Oman-2.
- From the neighbourhood, 7 flights shall take off during Week 1 from Bangladesh (including the one that has already landed) carrying passengers bound for Srinagar, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
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- Similarly, 14 flights shall take off during Week 1 from South-East Asia, 5 each from Singapore (including the one that has already landed) and the Philippines and 4 from Malaysia.
- 7 flights shall take off during Week 1 from 4 airports in US - New York, Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco. Another 7 flights shall take off from London in the UK.
- These flights are expected to land at 14 airports across India during Week 1 - Delhi (10 flights), Hyderabad (9), Kochi (9), Kozhikode (4), Trivandrum (1), Kannur (1), Chennai (9), Trichy (1), Ahmadabad (5), Mumbai (4), Srinagar (3). Bengaluru (4), Lucknow (1) and Amritsar (1).
- INS Jalashwa has set sail today, May 08, at 1630 IST from Male to Kochi with approximately 700 returnees on board. ETA at Kochi is forenoon May 10, depending upon sea conditions. INS Magar, is expected to set sail from Male with 200 returnees on May 10 to reach Kochi on May 12. Depending upon requirements, both ships will make another journey from Male to Tuticorin subsequently.
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- MEA has developed a dynamic online platform on which requests received by Indian Missions from Indian nationals wishing to return are regularly being uploaded.
- As of now, a total number of 67,833 requests for repatriation have been registered. These include, in descending order, requests from students (34% of the total - 22,470), migrant workers (30% of the total - 15,815), short-term visa holders faced with the expiry of visas (9,250), those faced with a medical emergency or seeking treatment for terminal illness (5,531), tourists stranded abroad (4,147), pregnant women and the elderly (3,041) and those required to return due to death of a family member (1,112).
- State-wise break-up of repatriation requests, in descending order, is as follows: Kerala (25,246), Tamil Nadu (6,617), Maharashtra (4,341), Uttar Pradesh (3,715), Rajasthan (3,320), Telangana (2,796), Karnataka (2,786), Andhra Pradesh (2,445), Gujarat (2,330) and Delhi (2,232).
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