In order to reduce the expenses of grieving families, Air India has decided to charge a "flat rate" to bring back mortal remains from six Gulf countries, which have a significant number of Indian immigrants.
"After discussions with the Ministry of External Affairs and the Ministry of Civil Aviation, we have decided that we will be charging a 'flat rate' to bring back dead bodies from six Gulf countries...This flat rate would be 40 per cent lower than what is usually charged," a senior Air India official said on Monday.
He added that this "flat rate services" for bringing a body back would currently be available for six Gulf countries and it would be 1,500 Dirhams for the United Arab Emirates, 220 Saudi Riyal for Saudi Arabia, 2,200 Qatari Riyal for Qatar, 225 Bahraini Dinar for Bahrain, 160 Omani Rial for Oman and 175 Kuwaiti Dinar for Kuwait.
According to the current exchange rates, the "flat rate" would approximately be the following in Indian currency -- Rs 29,000 for the United Arab Emirates, Rs 41,800 for Saudi Arabia, Rs 43,000 for Qatar, Rs 42,500 for Bahrain, Rs 29,500 Oman and Rs 40,900 for Kuwait.
The Air India official added that these services might be extended to various other countries that had a significant Indian immigrant population.
In 2017, India was the largest country of origin of international migrants at 1.7 crore, with about 50 lakh Indians residing in the Gulf region alone, according to the 2017 International Migration Report of the United Nations.
"The number of migrants from India now residing in multiple destination countries, includes the UAE at 3 million, the US and Saudi Arabia at 2 million each," the report said.