There will be 25 embarkation points for Haj-2023 and forms for going on the pilgrimage will be out very soon with the application being available free of cost, according to the Ministry for Minority Affairs.
The ministry said the Haj policy released on Monday will bring financial relief to pilgrims.
Haj package costs have been reduced by approximately Rs 50,000 as the money that was deposited with the Haj Committee for foreign exchange and items such as umbrella, bags and bed sheets would not be charged and these things can be arranged by the pilgrims themselves, sources said.
The New Haj Policy stated that out of the total number of quota allocated to the government of India, 80 per cent will be allocated to the Haj Committee of India and the remaining 20 per cent will be allocated to private operators.
“Those who have performed Haj earlier through Haj Committee of India will not be eligible to apply. In the case of ‘Mehram’ for lady pilgrims and of companions accompanying pilgrims over 70 years of age, repeaters will be allowed on payment of additional charges as applicable from time to time,” the policy stated.
Woman pilgrims and those over 70 years utilising the service of a repeater as “Mehram” must give a solemn declaration and undertaking to the effect that no first time “Mehram” is available in the family. The Haj application forms can be obtained from state and Union Territory Haj committees free of cost or can be downloaded from the website of the Haj Committee of India at hajcommittee.gov.in or through the android mobile application “HAJ COMMITTEE OF INDIA” available on play store. Application forms are now free for the first time, the ministry said.