Budget of subsidy for Haj pilgrimage for Muslims should be increased from Rs 690 crore to Rs 1, 000 crore, Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali on Sunday requested the Centre. He sent a letter to Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Mahmood Ali explaining that the pilgrims who want to avail this opportunity are very poor Muslims. He said that it is necessary that the facility of extending subsidy for this noble cause should continue.
“I request you to kindly look into the matter personally and see that all the measures are taken to continue the facility of providing subsidy and also to increase the subsidy budget from Rs 690 crore to Rs 1,000 crore so that, more number of Muslim minority poor people will be brought under the cover,” he said in the letter.
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Last month Saudi Arabia raised India’s Haj quota by about 34,000 taking the total number of pilgrims allowed to do the annual pilgrimage. Soon after, the Minority Affairs Ministry on Thursday constituted a six-member panel to look into the Haj subsidy given to Muslim pilgrims in the form of discounted air fares on Air India.
Last month, King Salman bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia issued a royal decree that it will cancel Hajj and Umrah visa fees starting from 2017. The High Committee for Hajj and Umra had announced new amendments that all visa fees will be completely waived off and will be fully paid for by the Saudi government for all first-time pilgrims coming for either Hajj or Umra. Saudi Arabia would also grant two free visas for each licensed company working in the field of Hajj and Umra. The decision came after protests of Egyptians and Muslims against the fees.