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SRINAGAR: Haj pilgrims will no longer receive any subsidy this year onwards, with the government saying the decision is part of its agenda of empowerment of minorities without appeasement. Union minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday confirmed that the Haj subsidy has been withdrawn. The overall tone both in online and real world in Kashmir is that Haj Subsidy withdrawn is a good thing . Some even stating that Haj subsidy was a big deception. Good that they Government has bid goodbye to this deception.

 

Importantly, the government said it will use the subsidy funds to empower the minorities. The policy to support Muslims in making the pilgrimage of Haj  in Saudi Arabia, can be traced back to 1932, when the British enacted the Port Haj Committees Act. In the ensuing decades, the Act has undergone numerous changes. “The scrapping of Haj Subsidy is a good thing . We need to remember here that the six-member Haj Committee of India was constituted in January 2017 to chalk out a plan to scrap the subsidy – which is valued at around Rs 650 crore a year – in accordance with the Supreme Court’s order from May 2012. The top court had asked the government to gradually phase out the subsidy and abolish it by 2022.Now the decision to scrap the Haj Subsidy is good as it was much politicized and did not do much good to the minority community, stated Ghulam Muhammad Commoner.

 

Pertinently, In January 2017, Saudi Arabia had increased India’s annual quota for Haj pilgrims from 136,020 to 170,520.The news comes about a week after Saudi Arabia approved India’s plan to allow Haj pilgrims from the country to head to Jeddah by the sea in a few years. For the moment it looks eminently clear that not much criticism is coming to governments decision to end Subsidy on Haj.