A hike in India’s Haj quota means that all those who applied for this year’s pilgrimage from larger states like Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar will be able to undertake the journey.
The increase, the third since the Narendra Modi government came to power, would also benefit all applicants from Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Goa, Lakshadweep, Manipur, Odisha, Puducherry, Assam, Chandigarh, Daman & Diu, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Punjab, and Tripura.
Sources said this is the first time since independence that no applicant from these states will be left out. The government of Saudi Arabia had on Thursday issued a formal order with regard to the increase in India’s quota.
This followed a February meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, with the Gulf kingdom enhancing India’s Haj quota by about 25,000.
This means a record 2 lakh Indian Muslims will undertake the Haj this year without any subsidy.
The list includes 2,340 Muslim women who will go for the pilgrimage without ‘Mehram’ or male companion. According to official figures, 34,397 people have applied from Uttar Pradesh, 8,470 from West Bengal, 191 from Goa, 499 from Manipur, 698 from Odisha, 2,138 from Andhra Pradesh, 3,588 from Assam, 4,950 from Bihar, 72 from Himachal Pradesh, 2,233 from Jharkhand, 342 from Punjab and 110 from Tripura to go for the Haj this season.
Sources said making the entire Haj process completely online/digital has helped ensure that the pilgrimage did not become expensive even after removal of the subsidy.