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No more Haj subsidy: Move to empower minorities, says Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

Haj subsidy cancelled: “It is part of Modi government’s efforts to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” Naqvi said.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: January 17, 2018 10:10 am
Haj Subsidy, PM Narendra Modi, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Haj Subsidy cancelled, No More Haj Subsidy, govt on Haj Subsidy, Haj subsidy news, Mecca, Saudi arabia, Indian Express Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the move to cancel haj subsidy was to empower minorities.

The government Tuesday announced that there will not be any subsidy for Haj pilgrimage from this year. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the move, in line with an apex court order of 2012, was part of the government’s efforts to “empower minorities” without appeasement. “There will be no subsidy on Haj now,” Naqvi said. A record 1.75 lakh Muslims will undertake the pilgrimage this year from India, he told reporters. The government had spent more than Rs 250 crore last year on subsidising the annual pilgrimage of Muslims, he said.

The decision is in line with a 2012 Supreme Court order asking the government to do away with the subsidy, which had long been sought by the BJP. The BJP had cited the subsidy as an example of “Muslim appeasement” by parties like the Congress.

The main Opposition Congress hoped that the government would utilise the money for the welfare of poor children. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad recalled that the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam had in May 2012 directed gradual abolition of Haj subsidy within 10 years. The court, he said, had directed that the money saved be utilised for welfare, development and education of minorities.

“The government has decided to wind up this subsidy almost four years before the date prescribed by the Supreme Court, we don’t have any issue… I am sure the government will implement the second part of the judgment too… and utilise the money for welfare and education of poor children,” he said.

Azad said the Hajis were not benefiting from the subsidy. “It is the airlines that were benefiting…. the normal fare from any part of the country to Jeddah is far less than the airlines are charging. The actual beneficiaries are the airlines… so let them not say that the government was pleasing anybody… the government was pleasing the airlines… not Hajis,” he said.

Congress communication department head Randeep Surjewala said: “We sincerely hope the Modi government will honour the SC direction and utilise this money for the disempowered, including modern education to children, especially young girls from minority community… provision for helping destitute women (including widowed, abandoned or divorced)… and make other provisions for uplift and social development of the minority community.”

With the Supreme Court ordering gradual reduction of the money spent on Haj pilgrims — they have been provided cheaper air tickets — the government has taken the step to empower minorities, the minister said. “It is part of Modi government’s efforts to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” he said.

He said the government was making efforts to bring down the cost of the pilgrimage too. He said that with Saudi Arabia agreeing to allow Indians to go on Haj by the sea route, officials of the two countries will work out the modalities. Haj pilgrims from certain regions will have the option to choose from where they want to fly to Saudi Arabia for the annual pilgrimage, he said, claiming this would bring down the cost by up to 70 per cent on some routes.

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  1. Abuhanzala Khan
    Jan 17, 2018 at 5:33 pm
    subsidy was going to Air India, We was paying 1,00.000 rs for 25,000 round ticket . BJP must reply Asad Owaisi 's Questions..
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    1. D
      Diplomat
      Jan 17, 2018 at 9:32 am
      It is a welcome decision. It was on the cards after SC direction in this regard and what BJP thinks about minority appea t policies of previous governments. So far so good. What next? Will this be another step towards essential de-linking the governments from religion? Will government withdraw subsidies and support to religious issues, pilgrims and melas across the religious spectrum? Will governments of future consider projects of real (read: non-religious) public interests for their funding policies implementation? Will government ensure that no chief minister or minister (either central or state) will not be allowed to visit and pray at government expense (it can be done as personal sans any government association with such event)? Would anyone hazard a guess?
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      1. Muftkhor By Choice
        Jan 17, 2018 at 9:19 am
        Very good move. Money should be spent on education.
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        1. Kushal Kumar
          Jan 17, 2018 at 8:57 am
          It seems this decision of the Govt to withdraw Haj subsidy could be read as implied in this Vedic astrology writer's one of predictions in article- "Astrologically speaking , some highlights for India in coming year 2018" - published last year at theindiapost on 19 October , 2017. It was said : - " The year 2018 looks to be bringing to focus themes of political , religious or spiritual nature for a heightened or sharp analysis or discussion. Such analysis or discussion could also pave way for new enactments or judicial pronouncements having far reaching significance or value , covering issues related to women , religion and political class".
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          1. Kushal Kumar
            Jan 17, 2018 at 8:56 am
            It seems this decision of the Govt to withdraw Haj subsidy could be read as implied in this Vedic astrology writer's one of predictions in article- "Astrologically speaking , some highlights for India in coming year 2018" - published last year at theindiapost on 19 October , 2017. It was said : - " The year 2018 looks to be bringing to focus themes of political , religious or spiritual nature for a heightened or sharp analysis or discussion. Such analysis or discussion could also pave way for new enactments or judicial pronouncements having far reaching significance or value , covering issues related to women , religion and political class".
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