Centre ends 'Haj Subsidy' in India

India withdraws Haj subsidy to pilgrims

The Supreme Court had cited "increase both in number of pilgrims and the travel cost/air fare" in its 2012 order while noting that total Haj subsidy that was Rs 10.51 crore in the year 1994 swelled up to Rs 685 crore in 2011.

According to The Hindu, the review committee on the Haj services had made a decision to end the subsidy in early 2018 during a meeting in November 2017.

Muslim pilgrims will no longer be given subsidy for Haj from 2018.

State Congress president M.M. Hassan said that this is the latest example of the attitude of the Centre towards the minority community, adding that subsidy has been on since the days of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

The government had spent over Rs 250 crore a year ago on subsidising the annual pilgrimage of Muslims to Saudi Arabia, he said. "The decision to withdraw subsidy was to divide people and to destroy secularism", he said.

"Providing subsidy for just one community destroys the principles of secularism and the decision to use this subsidy for the education needs of the Muslim girls is most welcome", he said.

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"Subsidy on Haj is over from this year".

All India Muslim Personal Law Board's Kamal Farooqui welcomed the move, saying that a wrong impression was being created that Muslims were gaining from the government aid.

Union Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goel also supported the change and tweeted: "Instead of appeasing the minorities, Govt. believes in empowering them and works for their welfare".

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that his government had removed the unjust practice where Muslim women were allowed to travel for Haj only in the company of a "mehram" or male guardian.

The policy recommendation suggested pilgrims travelling to Mecca by ship, which is considered cheaper than a flight.

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