On­line sys­tem has en­sured Haj re­mained in­ex­pen­sive: Naqvi

IN 2018, DE­SPITE SUB­SIDY RE­MOVAL, PIL­GRIMS SAVED AROUND `57 CRORE IN AIR­FARES

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - INDIA - —PTI

Mum­bai: Union min­is­ter Mukhtar Ab­bas Naqvi Satur­day claimed that digi­tis­ing Haj-re­lated pro­cesses has en­sured that the an­nual pil­grim­age re­mained in­ex­pen­sive de­spite the ab­sence of sub­sidy and made the sys­tem “pro-pil­grim”.

The Haj sub­sidy pro­vided by the gov­ern­ment was re­moved last year in the light of a Supreme Court or­der of 2012.

“Mak­ing the en­tire Haj process com­pletely on­line/ dig­i­tal has not only en­sured that the pil­grim­age has be­come in­ex­pen­sive even af­ter re­moval of Haj sub­sidy, but also made the process ab­so­lutely pro-pil­grim,” a state­ment quoted the Mi­nor­ity

Af­fairs Min­is­ter as say­ing.

He made the re­marks while in­au­gu­rat­ing a two-day train­ing camp of ‘KhadimUl-Hu­j­jaj’ (those who as­sist the pil­grims dur­ing the Haj) here. In 2018, even af­ter re­moval of the sub­sidy, pil­grims saved about Rs 57 crore in air­fares, he said.

“GST on Haj pil­grim­age has been re­duced from 18 per cent to 5 per cent this year, which will en­sure that about Rs 113 crore will be saved by Haj pil­grims dur­ing the 2019 Haj. Re­duc­tion in GST on Haj pil­grim­age will en­sure sig­nif­i­cant de­crease in air­fare from var­i­ous em­barka­tion points,” he added.

Air­fare from Srinagar will be re­duced by Rs 11,377, while from Ahmed­abad Rs 7,305 will be saved.

Naqvi added from Aurangabad, fares will be re­duced by Rs 9,373, from Delhi by Rs 7,967, from Gaya by Rs 11,027, from Guwa­hati by Rs 13,049, from Ranchi by Rs 11,946, from Kolkata by Rs 9,787 and from Hy­de­barad by Rs 7,204 this year.

He said for the first time in post-In­de­pen­dence era, a record num­ber of 1,75,025 In­dian Mus­lims per­form the Haj last year and that too with­out any sub­sidy. Of th­ese, 48 per cent were women, he said, adding that this year too, equal num­ber of In­dian Mus­lims are likely to per­form the Haj, he said.

—FILE PHOTO

Pil­grims pray in­side the Grand mosque in Mecca, Saudi Ara­bia

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