Tamil Nadu

Have you used Indian Community Welfare Fund to bring back Indians stranded abroad, Court asks Centre

The Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to explain whether the Indian Community Welfare Fund (ICWF), set up in 2009 to assist overseas Indian nationals in times of distress and emergency, had been used to bring back Indians stranded in foreign countries due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Justices M.M. Sundresh and R. Hemalatha issued the direction after senior counsel P. Wilson, representing Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, said the fund could be used to assist Indians who could not afford to pay for their travel. They asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) R. Shankaranarayanan to obtain instructions by July 20.

The DMK had filed a public interest litigation petition claiming that it had been receiving distress calls and e-mails from scores of Tamils stranded in foreign countries. It wanted all of them to be flown back safely to the State. In reply, the ASG told the court that the Centre had brought back over 5,02,990 Indians from 137 countries in less than two months.

“Our initial target was only 2 lakh people but we ended up making significant achievements. The highest number of 94,085 Indians had travelled to Kerala followed by Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The Central government is all out to ensure these people are brought back. We are serious about it.

“A total of 495 flights have been scheduled in Phase IV of the Vande Bharat Mission and of them, approximately 44 are scheduled to Chennai. It is also not necessary that all Tamils should land in the airports here. Many have chosen to land in Cochin, Bengaluru and so on and then travel to their hometowns,” he informed the court.

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Printable version | Aug 12, 2020 4:10:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/have-you-used-indian-community-welfare-fund-to-bring-back-indians-stranded-abroad-court-asks-centre/article32030045.ece

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