PM Modi wants blue collar workers from Gulf evacuated first
New Delhi, Apr 28: Prime Minister Narendra Modi has spelt out the rules to evacuate Indians stranded abroad.
The evacuation would first focus on blue collar workers. Students would be next followed by those who had travelled abroad on a holiday or work. The Civil Aviation Ministry and External Affairs Ministry have been laying the ground work to bring back Indians stranded abroad due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Prime Minister made it clear that the first preference should be given to the poorest Indian immigrants first. Most of these workers are stranded in the Gulf. Out of the 12.6 million Indians abroad, 70 per cent are in the Gulf countries. They have been hit badly due to this pandemic and hence the PM felt that the first choice should be given to them.
In case of the students, the government has asked the Indian missions to work out the modalities. There have been several requests from the students stranded in the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States to be brought back home.
While this exercise should begin after May 3, there is however no official word on the exact date. This exercise would largely depend on the states, officials tell OneIndia. The states have been told to increase the number of hospitals and quarantine centres ahead of this exercise.
Last week,Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of discussions with top officials on this issue. Cabinet Secretary, Rajiv Gauba informed the states to start making arrangements to earmark hospitals, and quarantine zones for Indian nationals stuck abroad. The government will make arrangements to bring back those Indians stuck abroad after the national lockdown ends.
Officials tell OneIndia that the Ministry of External Affairs is already making an assessment of people who want to return to India. The ministry not just assessing the people stranded abroad, but also those who want to come back too.
The number in the case of Kerala would be the highest as there are 1,00,000 expats wanting to come back. The other states which have a high number of expats abroad are Delhi, Maharashtra, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
The official cited above said that the Indians abroad would be brought to the International Airport closest to their state. The travel requirements would be kept at a minimum. Those who arrive will be taken straight to the quarantine centres, where they would have to spend a minimum of 14 days. The states have been asked to ensure that the facilities are ready for these persons.
While speaking at the Chief Minister's conference on Monday, the PM said that this has to be done keeping in mind the fact that they don't get inconvenienced and their families are not under any risk.