The government of Saudi Arabia has raised the Haj pilgrim quota by 34,500 for the year 2017. This has increased the chances of more Indian pilgrims to go for the holy pilgrimage to Mecca. Now, 1.70 lakh Indians can go for the pilgrims every year. According to Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, this is the biggest expansion in the last 29 years.
Before this agreement around 1.36 lakh Indians were allowed to go for the religious ritual Hajj every year from India. The increased number of limits comes as a good news for the aspirants who await their turn. Five years back the Saudi government had brought down the quota to 20 per cent for foreign pilgrims coming from different countries. This step was taken keeping safety purposes of the country in view in 2012. This had pulled down the number of applications from 1.70 lakh to 1.36 lakh per year.
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Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi thanked Saudi government, “On behalf of the people and Government of India, we also extend gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.” Naqvi also showed his confidence in further strengthening the relationship between the two governments.
Before this Saudi government had also signed labour cooperative agreement with Indian government when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Saudi Arabia during the month of April in 2016. This was to ensure standard work contract and better-working condition of Indians. Even though it is said that the Saudi government has not lived up to the expectations. Then the two countries had signed five agreements all together.
The government started to issue applications to apply for Hajj from January 2nd and will continue to receive the application forms until January 24.