Record number to travel for Haj with subsidy: Naqvi

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

For the first time after Independence, a record number of Muslims from the country will be going for Haj this year and that too without any subsidy,  Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

He was speaking at a training camp organised for Haj 'Khadim-Ul-Hujjaj' at Haj House, in Mumbai on Sunday. 

Naqvi said that the Government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has succeeded in getting India’s Haj quota increased for the second consecutive year and for the first time after Independence, a record number of 1,75,025 pilgrims from India will go for Haj 2018.

A total of 3,55,604 applications had been received which include 1,89,217 male and 1,66,387 female applicants.

This year, a total of 1,28,002 pilgrims will go through the Haj Committee of India. This includes about 47 per cent women. As many as 47,023 Haj pilgrims will go through Private Tour Operators.  Besides, for the first time, Muslim women from India will be going for Haj without 'Mehram' (male companion). A total of 1,308 women have applied for 'Haj' without 'Mehram' and all these women have been exempted from the lottery system and allowed to proceed for Haj.

A total of 6,700 pilgrims will go from Ahmedabad, 350 from Aurangabad, 5,550 from Bengaluru, 254 from Bhopal, 11,700 from Cochin, 4,000 from Chennai, 19,000 from Delhi, 5,140 from Gaya, 450 from Goa, 2,950 from Guwahati, 7,600 from Hyderabad, 5,500 from Jaipur, 11,610 from Kolkata, 14,500 from Lucknow, 430 from Mangalore, 14,200 from Mumbai, 2,800 from Nagpur, 2,100 from Ranchi, 8,950 from Srinagar and 3,250 from Varanasi.

In 2017, a total of Rs 1,030 crore was paid to the airlines as airfare for 1,24,852 Haj pilgrims, whereas, in 2018, a total of Rs 973 crore will be paid to the airlines for 1,28,002 Haj pilgrims. This means that Rs 57 crore less will be paid to the airlines this year even after ending the Haj subsidy.

The Modi Government’s commitment to transparency and strict directives given to the airlines to check unreasonable increase in fares has ensured that Haj 2018 airfares come down significantly this year.

Naqvi said with the Haj process done completely online/digital in the training camp, the Haj process has become transparent and pro-pilgrim.

The Minister also said that Saudi Arabia has given green signal to India’s decision to revive the option of sending Haj pilgrims through sea also and officials from both the countries are discussing the  formalities and technicalities to be followed so that Haj pilgrimage through sea can be initiated in the coming years.

He also said that for the first time, the choice of embarkation points has been given to Haj pilgrims. This has received an overwhelming response.

In this training camp, 623 'Khadim-ul-Hujjaj' from all the states participated. Officials from the Haj Committee of India, Bruhan Mumbai Mahanagar Palika, Disaster Management agencies and doctors briefed the pilgrims on all the processes related to the Haj, including that of accommodation, transport, health and safety of Haj pilgrims at Makkah-Madina. For the first time, female Haj assistants will be deployed to monitor various facilities for women pilgrims.

Consul General of India at Jeddah Mohammad Nur Rehman Sheikh; Haj Committee of India Chairman Chaudhary Mehboob Ali Qaiser; Members of Haj Committee of India and other officials were also present on the occasion.

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