High Power Committee For Subsidy To Hajis

New Delhi,Jan 13: The union Government has constituted a high-power committee to look into the issue of easing subsidy given to Haj pilgrims. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge), said the panel will study different aspects related to the subsidy amid renewed demands from sections of the Muslim community that the subsidy must be put to an end.

The Supreme Court, in a 2012 order, had asked the government to look for ways to gradually reducing and abolishing subsidy given to pilgrims by 2022. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event, Naqvi said the panel, inter alia, is expected to figure out if the pilgrims can travel to Saudi Arabia paying less or equally if there is no subsidy.

We have given a free hand to the committee to conduct its study. But the thing which needs to be looked into is whether the Hajis can travel spending less or paying equal charges in the absence of subsidy, he said. Saudi Arabia had two days ago increased India's Haj quota by 34,500. This means, around 1.70 lakh devotees can undertake the pilgrimage from India.

Lauding the community for its contribution towards nation building, Naqvi said his ministry will work for their empowerment in a dedicated manner. The community representatives, including MLAs from various states, hailed the meeting with the Union minister as "historic step".




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