The Centre has decided to do away with Haj subsidy for pilgrims from this year. The announcement was made by Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday afternoon.
“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.
Naqvi told reporters that despite the subsidy withdrawal, a record number of 1.75 lakh Muslims will undertake the pilgrimage this year from India.
Naqvi also said that the Saudi Arabian government has in principle agreed to allow Haj journey from India by ships and officials of the two countries will sit together to finalise the modalities.
Earlier this year, Naqvi had said that the Centre would abolish the subsidy for Haj pilgrims in line 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 explained.
(With inputs from agencies)