Draft pol­icy pro­poses abol­ish­ing Haj sub­sidy

The Sunday Guardian - - Front Page - AREEBA FALAK NEW DELHI

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-

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