Govt withdraws subsidy to Haj Pilgrims

New Delhi, Jan 16: The Centre on Tuesday abolished subsidy given for Haj pilgrims. Announcing the withdrawal of the Haj subsidy, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said despite the withdrawal, a record number of 1.75 lakh Muslims will undertake the pilgrimage this year.

Naqvi said that the Haj subsidy funds would be used for educational empowerment of girls and women from minority community.

Minister said that the Saudi Arabian government has in principle agreed to allow Haj journey from India by ships and officials of the two countries will sit together to finalise the modalities. “This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” Naqvi told reporters.

Naqvi also said that the Saudi Arabian government has in principle agreed to allow Haj journey from India by ships and officials of the two countries will sit together to finalise the modalities.

A policy to withdraw the Haj subsidy had been drafted in light of a 2012 Supreme Court order asking the Centre to abolish it gradually by 2022.

In 2017,  Haj subsidy was reduced by Rs 200 crore, from Rs 408 crore in 2016.

India has an annual Haj quota of 1.70 lakh devotees.

(input from agencies)

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