Govt. Haj subsidy to cover 1.25 lakh Hajis this year

By TCN News,

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Friday decided to cover 1.25 lakh Hajis this year under its Haj subsidy scheme. Because of the subsidy, each pilgrim going on Haj through Haj Committee of India will be charged only Rs 16,000 for fare. The rest amount of the fare will be borne by the Central government.

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Dr Razi Ahmed, Sec. Gandhi Sangrahalaya, Patna, in Ahram outside Patna Airport on 30th Sep 2011

Ministry of Civil Aviation is entrusted with the responsibility of making air travel arrangements for Haj pilgrims proceeding for Haj through the Haj Committee of India. For Haj 2011, Ministry of Civil Aviation has selected the airlines for undertaking Haj Charter flights through sealed tender process. Since only designated airlines of India and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) are permitted to carry Haj pilgrims from India to Saudi Arabia, the designated airlines of both the countries were issued the tender notice, Saudi Arabian Airlines and National Air Services (NAS), the two designated airlines of Saudi Arabia emerged L1 for 13 and 8 embarkation points respectively. MoUs have been signed with these airlines for carrying the Haj Pilgrims. The pilgrims would be carried from India to Jeddah/Madina during 29.9.2011 and 31.10.2011 and from Jeddah/Madina to India during 10.11.2011 and 10.12.2011.

Haj pilgrims being hugged by relatives outside Patna airport on 30th Sep 2011

The number of Haj pilgrims going through the Haj Committee of India is decided by the Ministry of External Affairs which is the nodal Ministry for Haj matters. The cost of air travel of pilgrims undertaking Haj through Haj Committee of India is borne partly by the pilgrims and partly subsidized by the Government of India. The cost/fare to be charged from pilgrims is decided by the Cabinet and collected by the Haj Committee of India and paid to the Government/airlines and the balance cost is borne by the Government, for which a budgetary provision is made in the annual budget of Ministry of Civil Aviation. The number of pilgrims to be covered under this scheme and the number of embarkation points in India from which these pilgrims would board the flights are also decided by the Cabinet every year.

[Photos by Mudassir Rizwan,]