Government to set up panel to rethink Haj subsidy

In 2012, the Supreme Court directed the government to phase out Haj subsidy in 10 years.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Updated: January 13, 2017 7:50 am
haj, hajj, hajj subsidy, haj pilgrimage, hajis, minority affairs, govt panel on hajj, hajj subsidy panel, haj subsidy panel, india news, latest news Sources said the panel on Haj subsidy may include members from the committee that looks at the setting up of minority universities.

The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has decided to set up a six-member committee to look at ways to make the Haj pilgrimage economical, even without government subsidy. While the Supreme Court had in 2012 asked the government to look at ways to phase out the subsidy in 10 years, the timing of the committee will raise uncomfortable political questions for the BJP ahead of the Uttar Pradesh elections.


Sources in the ministry said: “It is not that we want to end the subsidy, but the committee will look at modalities of how to make best use of the subsidy, explore how Hajis can travel at a lower cost even without subsidy. It is at a preliminary level, so it is too early to give names.” The ministry recently formed an 11-member committee under former bureaucrat Afzal Amanullah to look at the setting up of minority universities. The subsidy is around Rs 650 crore.

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In 2012, the Supreme Court directed the government to phase out Haj subsidy in 10 years, saying the amount could be used for social and educational development of the Muslim community. The government of that time had not been amenable to the idea and had argued that allowing private airlines to take care of Haj travel would leave the Hajis in the hands of market forces. This would certainly expose them to unregulated fares.

The Bench led by Justice Aftab Alam had said that with over 1 lakh pilgrims visiting Saudi Arabia, any airliner would be willing to allow lower fares. Incidentally, Saudi Arabia, which had cut India’s Haj quota by 20 per cent, has restored it. Following the visit of Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi to that country, the number of Haj pilgrims from India is likely to go up to 1,75,000. While that is something the government has been quick to publicise, any talk of doing away with the Haj subsidy would have instant repercussions on the elections in UP, where Muslims form about 20 per cent of the electorate.

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  1. M
    May 31, 2017 at 2:55 pm
    Muslims community in UK can approach for Road to Makkah for its Umrah Packages from Birmingham. : www.holycrosscottingham .uk/worship-wisdom-behind-islam/
    1. Muhammad Hashim
      May 17, 2017 at 3:54 pm
      As m-O-Alaikum Allah has made it obligatory for all the Muslims to perform Hajj at-least once in their lifetime. As mentioned by Allah in the holy Quran “And pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, for him who can find a way thither” (Aal Imran 3:97). if you are from Muslim Community of UK and want to make your journey comfort towards MAKKAH for Umrah or Hajj then choose our Umrah Packages 2017. Please open this link. : esperanceuniverselle. /2017/05/reward-of-being-tolerant
      1. bhasker tiwari
        Jan 12, 2017 at 11:35 pm
        Only 650 Cr...I think govt can manage that. No need to stop this subsidy for poor muslims, instead stop multiple marriages and triple talaq.
        1. D
          Dr.Damodar Biswal
          Jan 13, 2017 at 6:27 am
          Subsidy either should be given to the deserving visitors or should be stopped.But the money saved should be spent for the betterment of the minority community.
          1. C
            Jan 13, 2017 at 6:31 am
            650 crores for a community whose tax contribution is not even half of that! Mera Bharat Mahaan. If even after this they feel India is intolerant they should leave earth
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