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Ensure Haj subsidy funds are used for minority development, Ahmed Patel writes to Naqvi

Ahmed Patel said that while he welcomed the cancellation of the subsidy in accordance with the apex court's direction, he also hoped that the guidelines will be implemented in letter and spirit.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 17, 2018 8:00:06 pm
gujarat rajya sabha elections, Gujarat polls, Ahmed Patel, Amit shah, Smriti irani, Congress, BJP, Gujarat Congress, Congress mp Ahmed Patel (Express Photo by Anil Sharma/file)

A day after the government scrapped subsidy on Haj, Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday wrote a letter to Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi asking him to spend the funds for the development of minorities, as mandated by the Supreme Court in its 2012 order.

In the letter, Patel wrote while he welcomed the cancellation of the subsidy in accordance with the apex court’s direction, he also hoped that the guidelines will be implemented in letter and spirit. “Available records show that between 2014 and 2017, the Central Government’s grant for Haj has been reduced from Rs 400 crore to Rs 200 crore. I sincerely hope that this reduction in the outlay by nearly Rs 200 crore has been matched by an increased investment in the welfare of the community as mandated by the honourable Supreme Court,” the letter read.

Patel also added that while the court had ordered a “gradual reduction to complete elimination in ten years,” the government “in its wisdom has chosen to reduce the subsidy and eventually eliminate it four years ahead of the 2022 deadline.” He also asked Naqvi to share the details of the expenditure.

Announcing the withdrawal of Haj subsidy, Naqvi on Tuesday said, “This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement.”

Also Read | Haj subsidy cancelled: All you need to know about the 85-year-old policy

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said, “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.” Meanwhile, AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi attacked BJP, calling withdrawal a vote bank politics.

 

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