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Govt Gave Priority To Gulf Countries For Scheduling VBM Flights To Bring Back Stranded Workers: MEA

The Vande Bharat Mission started in early May to evacuate Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus-induced travel restrictions.

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Indian government has given priority to countries in the Gulf region for scheduling repatriation flights to bring back the stranded workers under the Vande Bharat Mission, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday.

"There was no delay in bringing back workers who were stuck in various countries in the Gulf region. In fact, priority has been given to countries in the Gulf region for scheduling flights to bring back the stranded workers under the Vande Bharat Mission," V Muraleedharan, Minister of State in the MEA, said in a reply to a question raised in Rajya Sabha.

The Vande Bharat Mission started in early May to evacuate Indians stranded abroad due to coronavirus-induced travel restrictions. The mission is in its sixth phase which will continue till October 24.

As per the MEA data, more than 14.12 lakh Indian nationals stranded in foreign countries due to COVID-19 pandemic have returned to India under Vande Bharat Mission so far.

When asked about the details of the facilities given to the workers brought back to the country, the minister said the Government of India started an initiative SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) to conduct a skill mapping exercise of the returning citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission.

This was done to facilitate the reintegration of migrant workers into the labour market and promote effective employment opportunities, he further said.

"SWADES, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Ministry of External Affairs, aimed to create a database of qualified citizens based on their skill sets and experience to tap into and fulfil the demand of Indian and foreign companies. This was done to facilitate the reintegration of migrant workers into the labour market and promote effective employment opportunities," Muraleedharan said

"For facilitating employment opportunities. details of SWADES registration have been integrated with Skill India's ASEEM (Aatmanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping) portal which was launched on 10 July 2020. Further, all data regarding Indians returning under Vande Bharat Mission was also shared with relevant State Governments, on a real-time basis," he added. 

(ANI)

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