Over 5.03 lakh Indians have returned home from 137 countries after the government launched the "Vande Bharat" evacuation mission on May 7 in view of the coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of External Affairs said today.
"Considering that the initial target to bring stranded Indians with compelling reasons was only 2 lakh, this is a significant achievement," it said.
The first phase of the mission was carried out from May 7 to 15. The second phase of the evacuation mission was scheduled from May 17 to 22. However, the government had extended it till June 10.
The third phase of the evacuation exercise was scheduled from June 11 to July 2.
According to the government's policy for evacuation, Indians having "compelling reasons" to return like pregnant women, elderly people, students and those facing the prospect of deportation were being brought back home.
In a statement, the MEA said a total of 5,03,990 stranded Indians from 137 countries have returned to India after commencement of the mega evacuation mission.
It said Kerala received a maximum of 94,085 stranded Indians, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.
"The largest number of stranded Indians returned by Vande Bharat Mission flights are from UAE (57,305), followed by Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the US and from Nepal (91,193) have returned through land border check posts," the MEA said.
It said the evacuation mission involved 860 Air India flights, 1,256 chartered flights and eight naval ships.
Out of the total returnees, 95,220 came back through land border check-posts from neighbouring countries.