16 January 2018

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BJP Government Ends Haj subsidy given to Muslims

BJP Government Ends Haj subsidy given to Muslims
The SC in 2012 had directed the Centre to gradually abolish the Haj subsidy over a period of 10 years. The Supreme Court also said the Centre should invest that amount in education and other development measures for the minority community. It said that this subsidy is unconstitutional.

According to official figures, the government has spent Rs 691 crore as Haj subsidy for 2013-14 and Rs 836 crore in 2012-13. In 2017, Haj subsidy was reduced by Rs 200 crore, from Rs 408 crore in 2016.

BJP government led by PM Narendra Modi Union government has withdrawn Haj Subsidy being given to Muslims annually.

Union minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi confirmed that the Haj subsidy has been withdrawn

Every year, the Central government will save around Rs 700 crore in subsidy, which was to be given to Indian Muslim pilgrim going to Mecca.

The Haj subsidy is given to Muslim Hajj pilgrims by the government in form of discounted fares on Air India. It also includes assistance to Muslim pilgrims for domestic travel to reach specially designed Haj departure airport terminals, medical cares, lodging assistance and meal. The subsidy program has its origins in British colonial era.

In 2008, the total subsidy provided by the government was US$1,815 per Muslim pilgrim.

The Centre has, however, said the withdrawal of subsidy won’t affect the cost of travel of Haj pilgrims. Haj pilgrimage was to be undertaken by around over 175,000 people from India this year.

Haj subsidy was started in British Raj which continued until now but now BJP government has decided to cancel the subsidy given to Muslims of India.

Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “We believe in empowerment without appeasement.”
“Muslims didn’t benefit from it. Development with dignity is what we believe in. The subsidy will be used for educating girls,”
Funds will be used for Muslim girl’s education is a good idea but hope this also does not become a Jumla.

"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,"

The Ministry of Minority Affairs had asked the panel to suggest the framework for a new Haj policy for 2018-22. Its report was submitted in October.

The policy aims at rationalizing distribution of the Haj quota between the Haj Committee of India and private tour operators in the ratio of 70:30 for the next five years.

It is very easy to say anything in speeches but in reality nothing happens on paper.

Supreme court of India directed to implement Police Reforms but no government is interested in that. Same way government cannot say we are doing this because of Supreme Court directions.

When was the Haj subsidy started in India?

The Haj subsidy was first introduced in 1932 when the British government provided for a government funded Haj committee and named Bombay and Calcutta as two ports from where Muslims could start their pilgrimage.

The Haj Committees Act along with the Muslim Personal Law were enacted by the government to fulfill Muslim demands in the pre-Partition days.

In 1959 the government replaced the previous Act. According to the new Act, a committee was created in Bombay to take care of all affairs of the pilgrims, including travel arrangements during the pilgrimage and to cover overhead expenses.

The Committee Act was further modified in 1973 when the mode of travel to Saudi Arabia was changed from sea to air, owing to rising oil prices. Accordingly, the government also increased subsidy to cover the difference between sea and air fares.

Till 1995, about 5,000 pilgrims used to travel by sea, while around 19,000 used to travel by air each year. However, in 1995 sea travel was completely discarded and all pilgrims had to use air transport.

Reality views by sm –

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Tags – India Muslim Haj Travel Subsidy