New Delhi: More than 2.5 million Indians in distress abroad were repatriated home and over 275,000 Indians overseas were provided assistance under the `Vande Bharat Mission` launched last year, the External Affairs Ministry said on Tuesday.
Recognizing the potential health and economic impact of COVID-19, Sanjay Bhattacharyya Secretary (CPV & OIA) who attended the 112th Session of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Council on "Impact of COVID-19 on Borders, Migration and Mobility: Learning Lessons and Preparing for the Future" said that India responded to protect migrant workers, stranded in destination countries across the world.
"Government organised the `Vande Bharat Mission` from 7th May 2020 to facilitate their safe repatriation.
This was the largest and the most complex exercise undertaken by the government, with our Embassies working in tandem with host governments and community organizations to support every Indian in distress.
More than 2.5 million Indians in distress abroad were repatriated home and over 275,000 Indians overseas were provided assistance," he said in a Ministry of External Affairs statement.
He also said, "We also launched the SWADES portal (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support).
This skill mapping exercise involved our National Skill Development Corporation and the information collated was shared with State Governments, employment bureaus and Indian & foreign companies for a seamless employment channel with identification of skill sets.
"Asserting that more stable and transparent mechanisms were needed for India`s traditional destinations in the Gulf, Secretary (CPV & OIA) said that country engaged in discussions for new generation labour agreements and commenced work on the integration of our eMigrate platform with those of our GCC partners.
"This would promote transparency, empower future migrants, stabilize migration flows and promote safe and legal migration," he said.
He added that the India-EU Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility provided a better understanding leading to mutually beneficial mobility partnerships with several EU countries, including Denmark, France, Germany, Portugal, and negotiations with others.
"The recent Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement with the United Kingdom encouraged the orderly mobility of skills and talents that provide benefits to both sides.
The Memorandum of Cooperation on Specified Skilled Workers with Japan provided a mechanism for the sending and receiving of Indian skilled workers to Japan in 14 specified sectors in a regulated and safe manner," Secretary (CPV & OIA) said.