New Delhi: India will carry out the second phase of its mega evacuation mission from May 16 to 22 under which stranded Indians will be brought back from 31 countries in 149 flights, official sources said.
The government launched the 'Vande Bharat Mission' on May 7 to bring back home Indians who were stranded in various countries due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
Under the phase one of the mission, the government has evacuated a total of 6,527 Indians from the Gulf region as well as countries like the US, the UK, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Maldives.
In the second phase of the evacuation mission, the government will bring back people from Canada, Oman, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, France, Tajikistan, Singapore, the US, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Qatar, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Japan, Kuwait and Italy.
Indians will also be evacuated from Nepal, Nigeria, Belarus, Armenia, Thailand, Ireland, Germany, Georgia and the UK.
"In the second phase, Air India and Air India Express will operate 149 flights," an airline official said.
Till last week, a total of around 68,000 Indians found eligible under government's criteria of having "compelling reasons" to be brought back home, registered for evacuation by flight under the 'Vande Bharat Mission', sources said
As per government's policy for evacuation, Indians having compelling reasons to return like pregnant women, elderly people, students and those facing the prospect of deportation are being brought back home.
In the first phase, the government had planned to evacuate around 15,000 people from 12 countries in 64 flights.
India has been under lockdown since March 25 to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has infected more than 70,000 people and killed around 2,290 people in the country till now. All scheduled commercial passenger flights have been suspended for the lockdown period.