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Govt panel recommends quashing Haj subsidy

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A government-appointed panel for revising India’s Haj protection has actually useful abolishing subsidy for the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mekkah and Medina in Saudi Arabia along with allowing women devotees aged over 45 to journey in a bunch of not lower than four with out a male relative.

The proposed Haj Policy 2018-22, submitted to Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi proper right here on Saturday, has been drafted in gentle of a 2012 Supreme Court path to frequently reduce and absolutely take away the subsidy by 2022.

“It is advisable that the existing reduction plan (phasing out of subsidy) be followed,” in response to the strategies.

Haj subsidy is given to those who bear the Haj Committee of India and by no means by private operators. The subsidy amount has inside the newest years been between Rs. 650-700 crore.

In a severe reform, the draft protection proposes to partially quash an earlier rule that barred women Haj aspirants to journey with out ‘mehram’, an in depth member of the household like husband, father or brother.

“Ladies above 45 years of age be allowed in a group of four or more to go for Haj without a mehram,” the panel actually useful.

Women beneath 45, nonetheless, have to be accompanied by a male family member, in response to the draft protection that proposes to increase the quota for mehrams from 200 to 500.

Among completely different strategies, made by the panel headed by former secretary Afzal Amanullah, are bringing down the number of embarkation elements from which pilgrims can take flights to Saudi Arabia from the present 21 to 9.

The embarkation elements for Haj pilgrims from subsequent 12 months may very well be New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Kochi and Ahmedabad.

The distribution of quota between Haj Committee of India and private tour operators is perhaps inside the ratio of 70:30 — just about a 5 p.c hike for the private players.

This 12 months, the Haj quota for India — dwelling to the world’s third largest Muslim inhabitants — was elevated to 170,025, of which 125,025 was allotted to the Haj committee and 45,000 to the privater tour operators.

On the long-pending proposal to revive Haj pilgrimage by ship, Naqvi talked about the Saudi authorities may very well be consulted after which it is going to float an expression of curiosity to guage for such journey.

Independent tour operators say journey by ship would drastically reduce the related price per pilgrim to spherical Rs 60,000, making it cheap to an even bigger a part of the inhabitants.

Regarding the distribution of Haj quota amongst states and union territories, the panel has actually useful that it should be inside the ratio of the Muslim inhabitants and in proportion to the number of features obtained from each state or union territory.

Special quota for Haj pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir is perhaps elevated from current 1,500 to 2,000.

The reserved class of candidates inside the 70-plus age group and fourth-timers has been abolished and so they would possibly bear the standard lottery.

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