New Delhi [India], September 17 (ANI): Amid the Vande Bharat Mission, airfare was paid from the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF) only in the extreme distress cases, said Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Thursday.
Replying to an unstarred question on the justification for charging flight charges from the workers when they were in distress and penniless, Muraleedharan said, "The Vande Bharat Mission was a repatriation exercise by way of which the Government of India facilitated the movement of stranded Indian nationals back to their home. In extreme distress cases, Missions extended assistance by paying for the airfare from the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF), as per the guidelines."
He further said that in many cases, companies that employed workers either paid for their airfare or hired chartered flights for them at the company's expense.
Sharing details on the number of flights sent abroad to repatriate students and blue-collared workers among others stuck abroad up to July 31, the Minister said, "Till 31 July 2020, more than 3,800 flights were used to repatriate students and blue-collar workers among others stuck abroad. As on 13 September 2020, the figure is more than 6,400 flights." (ANI)