Haj Subsidy withdrawn

The Narendra Modi government has withdrawn subsidy given to pilgrims who undertake Haj to Mecca and Medina. No subsidy will be given to Haj pilgrims from 2018. Approximately ₹250 crore was spent on Haj subsidy and the money would now be utilised for education and other welfare measures of Muslim women and girls. A Supreme Court order in 2012 had directed that Haj subsidy should be done away with in 10 years (by 2022).

The Centre was is in talks with Riyadh to work out modalities of sea travel to make Haj affordable for poor Muslims.

The NDA government had increased India’s Haj quota by 5,000. Despite the subsidy withdrawal, around 1.75 lakh Muslims are likely to go on pilgrimage, the highest since Independence. With the government allowing women to go without mehram (male companion), 1,300 women had applied for the pilgrimage and their applications have been accepted. Government will provide lady Haj assistants for the women and take care of some of their logistical requirements, including lodging in Mecca and Medina.

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