Haj Subsidy India News: Narendra Modi-led Union government has withdrawn Haj Subsidy being given to Muslims annually. Every year, the Central government will save around Rs 700 crore in subsidy, which was to be given to Indian Muslim pilgrim going to Mecca. The Centre has, however, said the withdrawal of subsidy won’t affect the cost of travel of Haj pilgrims. Haj pilgrimage was to be undertaken by around over 175,000 people from India this year. The Centre has said it would use the subsidy amount for Muslim girls child educations.
Here are the updates and reactions on the government’s decision of scrapping Haj Subsidy
- Meanwhile, Haj Committee Secretary RP Singh has been removed from his position over painting of UP State Haj Samiti Office in saffron colour.
- The Haj subsidy was a subsidy given to Indian Muslim Hajj pilgrims by the Government of India in form of discounted Air fares on Indian Government owned Air India.
- In its 2012 order, the court said, ” this is on account of increase both in number of pilgrims and the travel cost/air fare. In the year 1994, the number of pilgrims going for Hajj from India was as low as 21,035. In 2011 it was 12,5000. In the year 1994 the cost of travel per pilgrim was only Rs 17,000. In 2011 it went up to 54,800. As a result the total Hajj subsidy that was Rs 10.51 crore in the year 1994 swelled up to Rs 685 crore in 2011.”
- Yesterday, Naqvi took to Twitter and expressed happiness saying Saudi Arabia has given a green signal for India’s decision to revive the option of Haj pilgrimage through sea route.
- As per a report by The Indian Express, the subsidy program has its origins in British colonial era. In 2008, the total subsidy provided by the government was US$1,815 per Muslim pilgrim.
- A bilateral agreement was signed in connection with Haj 2018 during the meeting between Naqvi and Saudi Arabia’s Haj and Umrah Minister Muhammad Benten. Naqvi met with Dr Benten at his office in Mecca on Sunday for signing the annual Haj agreement, as per a report by the ANI.
- As per a report by The Indian Express, the Ministry of Minority Affairs had, last year, constituted a committee to review the existing Haj policy and suggest a framework for a new Haj policy for 2018-22.
- The Supreme Court, in 2012, had ordered to gradually reducing and abolishing subsidy given to pilgrims by 2022.
- Earlier, in the year, Saudi Arabia Monarch hiked India’s pilgrim quota by 5000.
- All India Muslim Personal Law Board’s Kamal Farooqui welcomed the move, saying that a wrong impression was being created that Muslims were gaining from the government aid. “Instead, it was national carrier Air India that was the biggest beneficiary of this government scheme,” he said while speaking to a private news channel
- The decision to withdraw Haj Subsidy comes just a day after the government allowed Muslim women above the age of 45 to go on the pilgrimage without a male guardian, in groups of at least four.
- Reportedly, sea-planes will be used for Haj pilgrims from now on.
- “Muslims didn’t benefit from it. Development with dignity is what we believe in. The subsidy will be used for educating girls,” said Naqvi after the announcement of the withdrawal of Haj subsidy.
- Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “We believe in empowerment without appeasement.”
- Haj subsidy funds will be used for educational empowerment of girls and women of the minority community: Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told ANI