There will be no subsidy for the Haj piligrims this year onwards.
The government of India has abolished the Haj subsidy scheme as a part of its policy-“empowerment with dignity”.
Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday confirmed this decision of the government. Government has completely taken off the Haj subsidy, said the Minister adding, “This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement.”
Mr Naqvi said, the saved money from the subsidy cut will be used for educating and empowering the girls form minority communities.
In a 2012 decision the Supreme Court of India has asked the government to do away with the subsidy in a pahse manner by 2022. After that the Haj Subsidy has started dropping gradually from Rs 836.56 cr in 2012 to Rs 680 cr in 2013 and Rs 533cr in 2014. The subsidy fell to Rs 529 cr and Rs 405 cr in the subsequent two years before a big fall to Rs200 crore in 2017.
One Lakh and 75 thousand Muslim citizens from India can go for Haj piligrimage this year after Saudi Arabia government increased India’s Haj quota by 5000.
Indian Muslim citizens on Haj mission in Air India were entitled to get subsidy on their Air Fares under Haj Act 1959. This subsidy provision had its origin in the British rule in India and continued into the post independent system.
Over the years the subsidy amount had swelled significantly with the increase in numbers of Haj piligrims and travelling fares leading to a controversy that ultimately landed in the Court.
However money was not the only germ of controversy. The ojectioners found it against the secular ethics of the country to spend taxpayers’ money on religious activty like Haj.Many among the Muslims too have the notion that it was un-islamic to avail subsidy for Haj.
In May 2012, the Supreme Court of India bench, comprising of Altamas Kabi and Ranjana Desai directed the “Central government to progressively reduce the amount of subsidy so as to completely eliminate it within a period of 10 years from today,”
The Apex Court hold that the Subsidy was unconstitutional and against the teaching of Quaran also.