Withdrawal of Subsidy doesn’t dent Haj numbers

New Delhi, Jan. 16 (Agencies): A record 1.75 lakh Muslims will undertake the Haj pilgrimage this year from India, despite the government’s decision to withdraw the subsidy, minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Tuesday.
Naqvi said withdrawal of the subsidy is based on a 2012 directive from the Supreme Court to do away with the Haj subsidy. The government had formed a committee to draft a Haj policy, and this draft was given to Naqvi in October.
”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,” Naqvi had said.
The draft Haj Policy 2018-2022 also recommended that women above the age of 45 be allowed to travel in a group of four without a male Mehram or a male a female would never marry in her life.
Naqvi 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.
”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.

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