The India government will start evacuating its distressed citizens from abroad from May 7 in the wake of a global emergency triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The government will deploy special flights and naval ships to carry out the mammoth exercise of bringing home thousands of people from these countries, according to an official circular issued by the India government.
The government has chalked out a detailed evacuation plan in consultation with various Indian missions abroad and priority will be given, in the first phase, to stranded Indians from the Gulf countries, the US and the Maldives.
It is also expected that people those who availed amnesty offered by the Kuwait government will be able to go home as the India government has decided to open its airspace for foreign carriers as part of the evacuation plan.
Pregnant women, senior citizens, people affected with diseases other than COVID-19, people whose visas have expired, those who went abroad on visit visas and got stuck and people who are facing various hardships will be given priority, the circular added.
Although the government will arrange the means of passage, the passenger will have to bear the travel fare. Lists of distressed people are being prepared by respective embassies based on the registration prior to the repatriation and each passenger will have to undergo a COVID-19 screening at the port of embarkation, it is learned.
Many Indian states like Kerala, Punjab, Goa, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tamil Nadu with huge overseas communities had urged the central government to start repatriations without any further delay. Kerala’s NORKA (Non-Resident Keralites Affairs) has started registration of people and more than 350,000 people have registered so far.