Vande Bharat Mission Will Not Be A Saviour For All

by GoNews Desk 3 weeks ago Views 1264
Vande Bharat Mission Will Not Be A Saviour For All
The Central government has issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for the repatriation of lakhs of Indian citizens stranded abroad. Central Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that people who are helpless and dealing with a crisis will be given priority in returning to India.

Among them are migrant workers who have been rendered jobless and people whose short-term visa has expired. 

Also Read: Pandemic & The Palate: The Quandary Of Ordering Food

In the SOP, the Home Ministry has made it clear that those with medical emergencies, pregnant women, the elderly, students and people returning to India because of bereavement in their family will be accorded priority.

The Home Ministry has also said that all passengers will have to pay the fare for the journey.

People returning to India will have to get registered at their respective Indian Embassy, on the basis of which the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will prepare a database of such passengers according to flights or ships. 

The MEA will share this database with the respective states and Union territories beforehand.

The MEA has appointed separate nodal officers for states and Union territories, who will coordinate with the nodal officers of respective states.

Before embarking on their journey, all passengers will have to submit in writing that on reaching India, they will stay under quarantine at their own expense and that they are undertaking this journey at their own risk.

The thermal screening of returning passengers will be conducted at the time of boarding the aircraft or ship and only those people who have no symptoms of COVID-19 will be allowed to proceed. 

After reaching India, thermal screening of these passengers will be conducted again. 

They will be asked to download the Aarogya Setu app on their mobiles and those who show COVID-19 symptoms will be taken to the hospital immediately. 

The remaining passengers will be placed in a quarantine centre for 14 days, which will be arranged by the related state and Union territory government.

After 14 days, on not showing the contagion in tests, they will be allowed to go back home and asked to monitor their health for another 14 days.

The Central government has named this mission of repatriation of Indians the ‘Vande Bharat Mission’, which will begin from May 7. 

The Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar has spoken to the Indian ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, the Maldives and the United States through video conferencing and appealed to migrant Indians to stay in regular touch with the Indian Embassy.

In the first week, permission has been given to operate 64 special flights to 12 countries. In this duration, people from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, the Maldives, Singapore and the US will be airlifted to India.

Naval ships will bring back people from the Maldives, where Indians work in large numbers.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is upset with the SOP issued by the Home Ministry. He said that 2,250 people are being brought back to Kerala on May 7.

The Central government has shown the commitment to bring back 80,000 expatriates but there are 1.69 lakh people stranded abroad who are the priority for Kerala, he added.

Vijayan has raised questions over bringing back people without conducting coronavirus tests and said that by doing so, the risk of the spread of COVID-19 will increase manifold. He has demanded that people returning to India should be tested.

But this is not just about Kerala.  

The maximum upheaval for repatriation is occurring in Gulf countries. So far, 3 lakh people have registered with the Indian missions here for their return home.

But around 84 lakh Indians reside in the Gulf countries and among them, there are a large number of labourers. 

According to government data, 1.34 crore Indians live abroad. But among them, 83.72 lakh Indians are residing in the seven Islamic nations of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Malaysia alone.

The largest number of Indians (34.20 lakh) is in the UAE. Meanwhile, around 25.94 lakh in Saudi Arabia, 10.29 lakh in Kuwait, 7.79 lakh in Oman, 7.56 lakh in Qatar and 3.23 lakh Indians are living in Bahrain. 

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