Draft policy proposes abolishing Haj subsidy
Indian Muslim women above 45 years of age will be able to go on Haj pilgrimage without their mehram (male guardian) in a group of four or more, as per the recommendations of the new Haj Policy 2018-22. Until now, women were not allowed to go for Haj without a male guardian, thus making it difficult for eligible women to travel alone for Haj. According to the recommendations submitted on Saturday by a special committee to the Ministry of Minority Affairs ( MoMA) for the new Haj Policy 2018-22, Haj subsidy will also be abolished.
The Ministry also plans to reduce the number of Embarkation Points (EPs) from 21 to nine. The EPs will be Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kochi. According to sources close to the Ministry, reduction in the number of EPs is part of the process to re- introduce sea route for Haj travel. However, the plan for reopening the searoute is still under analysis as the Saudi government is still to be consulted.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said, “Haj subsidy has been removed as part of revamping the Haj pilgrimage system. Now that there is no subsidy, it will lead to an increase in travel fares initially, which is why we have reduced the number of embarkation points. Once the sea-