New Delhi: The subsidy given to Haj pilgrims has been withdrawn by the Central Government. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the minority affairs minister stated that the no subsidy will be provided for Haj this year but those funds will be used for the educational empowerment of women and girls of minority community. Earlier the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) has urged that the funds might be better utilized.
Naqvi said that the subsidy has been abolished in accordance to a Supreme Court order. The Centre had formed a six-member committee to look for the issue of reducing and abolishing the subsidy by 2022. The committee recommended the abolition of Haj subsidy but allowing women aging 45 year and above to proceed on Haj without male guardian. Naqvi stated that the government would “fulfill all its responsibilities it has towards its citizens” and also would do best for the arrangements for the pilgrims ensuring the safety, security and comfort.
Despite being subsidy dismantled, a record number of 1.75 lakh Muslims will go on Haj pilgrimage this year. This would be the highest claimed number of visitors since Independence. The Haj subsidy is given to Muslim Haj pilgrims in the form of discounted Air India fares.