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Representational picture: The Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi launching the website of Haj Committee of India, in New Delhi on December 20, 2016.(PIB)

Haj Subsidy Halved by India in 4 years: Minister

After the Supreme Court directive in 2012 to progressively decrease Haj subsidy and completely eliminate it in 10 years, Haj subsidy has been gradually reduced from Rs.836.56 crore in 2012-13 to Rs. 405 crore in the year 2016-17, said Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State (IC) for Minority Affairs, in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Over the period, it has been progressively reduced to Rs.680.03 crore in the year 2013-14, Rs.577.07 crore in 2014-15 and Rs. 529.51 crore in 2015-16, informed the minister to the House.

Following representations made to the Ministry from time to time on Haj subsidy, the government has been making changes to the policy, he said. However, the responsibility for making air travel arrangements for Haj pilgrims identified by the Haj Committee of India (HCoI) is with Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), he noted.

The pilgrims make deposit as decided by the ministry towards airfare to HCoI and the balance fare payable to the Airlines is paid by MoCA as subsidy to facilitate the Haj pilgrims. The subsidy given by the Government during last three years and current year and the amount deposited to HCoI by each pilgrim towards airfare is as under:

The total amount charged from each Pilgrim varies depending on the category of accommodation and the amount of airport charges plus the fixed amount deposited towards airfare. For Haj 2016, the total amount for Azizia category was Rs.1,85,000 and for Green Category it was Rs.2,19,000, said the minister.

Every year a Haj Air Travel Committee (HATC) is constituted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to make air travel arrangements for Haj and in 2017, the HATC has been constituted on January 2, 2017 under the Chairmanship of Joint Secretary, MoCA and other officials.

Under the bilateral pact with Saudi Arabia for Haj 2017, a quota of 1,70,025 pilgrims (1,25,025 seats for Haj Committee of India and 45,000 seats for Private Tour Operators) has been allocated compared to 1,36,020 pilgrims during previous year.

The quota allotted to to all States/ Union Territories Haj Committees including the States of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana, in proportion with their Muslim population as per Census 2011, informed the minister.

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