Combating coronavirus: Registration forms released to repatriate stranded citizens to India

By Reena Bhardwaj

Washington D.C. [USA], April 29 (ANI): With the registration forms being active today on the Indian embassy website, an exercise to gather the exact number of stranded Indians in the United States, the Indian government has given a clear indication that it is all set to undertake what could be the biggest repatriation operation of stranded Indian diaspora from not just the United States but also from other countries amid the coronavirus crisis.

A senior official told ANI that the Indian missions will be asked to compile a list through this registration and repatriation will be coordinated with respective states. This registration exercise would help the Government of India to obtain relevant information in respect of Indian nationals wishing to travel to India for "compelling" reasons.

As the clamour for repatriation is rising from hundreds of thousands of Indians in the virus-hit countries, ANI learns that the GoI has listed some categories, who would be given priority and will get the first seats in special repatriation flights, followed by the students stranded in foreign countries.

As the Government of India is continuously assessing the situation and working on all possible options, it is still not certain when and how will Indian citizens stranded in the United States will return home.

"The Middle East will first be the focus. We are still formulating if the citizens stranded will be airlifted by the Air India or commercial flights," the source further told ANI

"On landing in India, every citizen will be screened to figure out if the person should be sent to quarantine centres or straight to the hospital," the official added.

The source further said: "The exact number of Indians stranded in the United States is still to be gathered, but the New York jurisdiction of the Indian mission alone has more than a million Indians, who have shown a willingness to return to their homes."

Amid the coronavirus scare, thousands of Indians have expressed willingness to come back to India, but due to the suspension of air operations and other modes of travel, they have been stuck there.

Despite media speculations, there is no official confirmation of any evacuation flight from the US to India till now. ANI learns the main purpose of this information sheet is to collect actionable data on Indian nationals willing to travel to India urgently, should an opportunity like this arise.

The Government of India would ideally want this data/ information sheet to be filled preferably by Thursday evening (April 30). (ANI)