So, many NRIs are stuck abroad and are trying to return to India after the lockdown. India Govt. is providing assistance to those who want to travel back to India. Here are the details we know.
According to the Press Information Bureau of India,
The government of India will be facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner. The travel would be arranged by aircraft and naval ships. The Standard Operating Protocol (SOP) has been prepared in this regard.
Indian Embassies and High Commissions are preparing a list of distressed Indian citizens. This facility would be made available on payment basis. Non-scheduled commercial flights would be arranged for air travel. The travel would begin in a phased manner from May 7.
Medical screening of passengers would be done before taking the flight. Only asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to travel. During the journey, all these passengers would have to follow the protocols, such as the Health Protocols, issued by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
On reaching the destination, everyone would have to register on the Aarogya Setu app. Everyone would be medically screened. After scrutiny, they would be quarantined for 14 days, either in a hospital or in an institutional quarantine on payment-basis, by the concerned State government. COVID test would be done after 14 days and further action would be taken according to health protocols.
The Ministries of External Affairs and Civil Aviation would soon share detailed information about it through their websites.
State Governments are being advised to make arrangements, including for testing, quarantine and onward movement of the returning Indians in their respective States.
Couple of things to note here. Let’s go one by one.
In this article...
What does “compelling grounds” mean?
The government of India will be facilitating the return of Indian nationals stranded abroad on compelling grounds in a phased manner.
“On compelling grounds in a phased manner” probably means that there will be a filter process by which only the very severe cases will be either given priority or selected.
Although we don’t know right now what or how “compelling grounds” is defined.
I’m assuming it means those who have medical emergencies or job-losses or are in red-zones perhaps. We got to wait and watch how it gets defined.
What does “phased manner” mean?
This is obvious. It means there shall be batches of returning Indians for each trip. However, it isn’t clear who’s on which list and who gets priority.
Indian Embassies and High Commissions are preparing a list of distressed Indian citizens. This facility would be made available on payment basis.
So, it appears that the list of distressed Indian citizens is prepared based on an application prior made. Here is the application form.
What is “payment basis”?
It looks like there is a payment involved, but as of now we haven’t heard from anyone on how much it is.
Would people with Covid symptoms be allowed to travel?
No. The press release clearly states that Medical screening of passengers would be done before taking the flight and only asymptomatic passengers would be allowed to travel.
Will NRIs returning back be allowed to go home?
Most likely not.
If at all, you’ll be required to go in self quarantine or at a hospital for a minimum of 14 days.
Return to India Flights for NRIs
Ministry of Information and Broadcast has also shared information about the schedule of flights arranged for stranded NRIs.
Please find the flight schedule below.
We’ll update with information as we get. Stay tuned!