Agencies, New Delhi
In a major policy decision, the government on Tuesday scrapped subsidy for Haj pilgrims.The decision to abolish Haj subsidy comes day after government allowed Muslim women, above the age of 45, to go on Haj without male guardian, in a group of at least four.
Announcing this here Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the Haj subsidy funds will be used for educational empowerment of girls and women of minority community.
Stating that the government believed in empowerment without appeasement, the Minister said “development with dignity is what we believe in.” He said despite the subsidy withdrawal, a record number of 1.75 lakh Muslims will undertake the pilgrimage this year.
Mr Naqvi said the withdrawal of subsidy however, won’t affect the cost of travel of Haj pilgrims.The Ministry of Minority Affairs had, last year, constituted a committee to review the existing Haj policy and suggest a framework for a new Haj policy for 2018-22.
“This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” Naqvi told reporters and cited a host of measures for the welfare of minorities.
Earlier this year, Naqvi had said that the Centre would abolish the subsidy for Haj pilgrims in accordance with a Supreme Court order“A constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had, during the Congress regime in 2012, directed that the Haj subsidy be done away with. Hence, in the new policy, as per the recommendations of a committee, we have decided to do away with the Haj subsidy gradually,” he had said.
Maulanas welcome abolition of Haj subsidy
Lucknow: The Central government on Tuesday abolished subsidy for Haj pilgrims and the muslim clerics have welcomed the abolition of the subsidy on the haj pilgrimage. They said ‘Good Riddance’.
The clerics said the Haj subsidy was a myth and an unnecessary burden on the community without any actual benefit to the pilgrims. The decision to abolish Haj subsidy comes a day after the government allowed Muslim women, above the age of 45, to go on Haj without male guardian, in a group of at least four.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs had in 2017 had constituted a committee to review the existing Haj policy and suggest a framework for a new Haj policy for 2018-22. A constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had during the Congress led UPA regime in 2012, had directed that the Haj subsidy be done away with in gradual manner in next 10 years.
Zafaryaab Jilani, former additional advocate general and the convenor of the Babri masjid action committee said on Tuesday that it was an outstanding demand of the community to abolish the subsidy along with allowing the pilgrims to choose the airlines for Saudi Arab for performing the Haj pilgrimage.
He however said that the Supreme Court had directed to abolish the subsidy in next 10 years and the government seems to have done before that.