As per information received from the Bureau of Immigration (BoI), the number of Indian students, who departed India for higher education in the current year, is 1,33,135 so far while there were 4,44,553 students in 2021 and 2,59,655 in 2020, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan told Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
He also said that according to information received from the BoI, the top preferred countries for education in 2021 were the US, Canada, and the UK.
He also said that granting visas is the sovereign right of a country and various countries have been granting visas to Indian students for studying in universities of their countries. However, if there is a temporary restriction or delay in the grant of a visa then the Ministry and the respective Indian Mission take it up proactively with the country concerned.
Responding to a query from CPI-M member K. Soma Prasad, Muraleedharan said that the Student Module of the MADAD portal, launched on July 15, 2016, enables Indian students studying abroad or aspiring to study abroad to register voluntarily and provide information on their course, institutions, contact details, emergency contact etc.
His Ministry, through its missions/posts abroad, has been regularly interacting with Indian students studying abroad to register their details on the student module and also encouraging Indian student organisations and Indian community associations for the same including through social media platforms.
In response to another question, Minister of State for External Affairs Meenakshi Lekhi informed the House that overall, 22,500 nationals have returned to India since February 2022 after the Russia-Ukraine war broke out in February.
“Around 40-50 Indian nationals are still in Ukraine, of which only a few are willing to return to India and their return is being facilitated by the Embassy.”
She also informed that during the global Covid-19 pandemic, the government had launched the Vande Bharat Mission to repatriate Indian nationals and to facilitate the travel of passengers between India and other parts of the world.
“Around 2.97 crore passengers (in-bound and out-bound) have been facilitated in the flights operated under the Vande Bharat Mission and Air Bubble Arrangements till date,”Lekhi said
Under Operation Devi Shakti, a total of 669 people were evacuated from Afghanistan. This included 448 Indian nationals, 206 Afghans (including Hindu and Sikh community members) and 15 people of other nationalities (Nepal, Lebanon and Uganda) in seven flights (six flights operated between August 16 to 25, 2021 and the last flight on December 10, 2021).
All Indian nationals who had sought repatriation to India were evacuated, she added in her reply.
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