The Narendra Modi government announced today end of subsidy to Haj pilgrims and the funds will be diverted for the education of minorities, mostly for the girl children.
Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the move is part of the movement to empower minorities without appeasement.
During an interaction at the BJP headquarters the minister added, “There will be no subsidy for Haj from this year.”
The subsidy to Haj pilgrims mostly cuts the air travel price traveling to Saudi Arabia and is argued by the government to be a demonstrative sop for the community and hence it could be better utilized.
Opposition parties didn’t protested and maintained no objections, but argued that the funds must be utilized for minority welfare.
However, BJP alleged Congress had no urgency to implement on the matter during its tenure a Supreme Court ruled in May 2012 to end Haj subsidy in ten years time.
This year the people going for Haj is a record number of 1.75 lakh and if believed to Naqvi it is the highest since Independence.
However, over the period of past six years the grant has been cut by 75 percent. Last year more than Rs 250 crore was spent on Haj subsidy. In 2016 it was around Rs 284 crore. In 2012 the total subsidy accounted for Rs 782 crore.
Naqvi added the move will give the options to Muslims of cheaper travel like boarding from Gaya costs Rs 120,000 while from Kolkata it comes down to Rs 70,000. There will be a saving of Rs 50,000.