Haj subsidy balloons to Rs 385 crore

With 10,000 more pilgrims being allowed to undertake Haj pilgrimage this year, the Government subsidy is all set to mount to Rs 385 crore approximately. The Centre on Thursday decided to enhance the quota under its subsidy scheme to 1.1 lakh pilgrims from the existing one lakh.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The movement of second batch of pilgrims from India to Saudi Arabia during Haj 2006 is due to commence later this month. Air India, which is hired by the Central Haj Committee to ferry the pilgrims, will add more flights from India to Saudi Arabia this year.

The Cabinet also approved a proposal for transportation of other Haj pilgrims by Air India or Indian from Kolkata, Calicut, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Patna, Guwahati, Jaipur and Srinagar. The increase in number under subsidy would add an additional burden of Rs 3.5 crore. According to Central Haj Committee vice-chairman Hasan Ahmed, the committee charges between Rs 85,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh from each pilgrim who registers with them. The pilgrims are required to pay an airfare of Rs 12,500 directly to Air India for flight to Jeddah. The Government subsidises the remaining part of approximately Rs 45,000 fare.

The subsidised part of the airfare is paid by the Government directly to the airlines costing the taxpayer nearly Rs 385 crore. "It’s wrong to say that the subsidy is going either to the Haj pilgrim or the Haj Committee. The Government pays the air-carrier directly. There are other airlines, which are carrying passengers at much discounted rates. But since Air India is official carrier, we have to go through them," Ahmed said.

"Of the money we charge, Rs 25,000 is refunded to each pilgrim in Saudi currency on their arrival in Jeddah towards food expenses. We keep the remaining amount for their accommodation and local transport in Saudi Arabia during the period of pilgrimage," Ahmed added.


Notice : The source URLs cited in the news/article might be only valid on the date the news/article was published. Most of them may become invalid from a day to a few months later. When a URL fails to work, you may go to the top level of the sources website and search for the news/article.

Disclaimer : The news/article published are collected from various sources and responsibility of news/article lies solely on the source itself. Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS) or its website is not in anyway connected nor it is responsible for the news/article content presented here. ​Opinions expressed in this article are the authors personal opinions. Information, facts or opinions shared by the Author do not reflect the views of HJS and HJS is not responsible or liable for the same. The Author is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article. ​