Centre forms panel to improve Haj policy,look into subsidy issue

Former Consulate General of India (CGI), Jeddah, Afzal Amanullah has been appointed as convener of the high-level panel, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Centre forms panel to improve Haj policy,look into subsidy issue

In the light of 2012 Supreme Court order on the Haj pilgrimage subsidy issues, the central government has formed a six-member committee to give a report on ways to improve India’s Haj policy.

Former Consulate General of India (CGI), Jeddah, Afzal Amanullah has been appointed as convener of the high-level panel, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs  Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.

Bombay High Court judge (retd) SS Parkar, ex-Haj Committee of India chairman Qaiser Shamim, former Air India CMD Michael Mascarenhas and Muslim scholar-chartered accountant Kamal Faruqui are also part of the panel, which will have the Ministry Joint Secretary J Alam as member secretary.


Among other, the committee will figure out whether the pilgrims can travel to Saudi Arabia paying less in the absence of the subsidy.

“The experts' committee has been formed and it will give us report in a month or two on how India’s Haj policy can be improved, how the pilgrims can get maximum concessions and how Haj can be managed better,” Naqvi said.

“There are several issues relating to Haj subsidy. Some people are of the view that it should go, some say it should be there. Some have suggested the system at AIR India should be changed. The SC has given its verdict."

“Hence, the experts committee has been formed to look into these aspects. It will speak to all the stakeholders and soon, we will figure out some way,” he replied when asked about the issue of floating global tender for air travel to Haj.

The committee is expected to be reviewed the effectiveness of Haj Committee of India’s management of pilgrims’ accommodation and air travel.

Last month, in the biggest hike in nearly three decades, Saudi Arabia had increased India’s annual Haj quota by 34,500, increasing it from 1,36,020 to 1,70,520 pilgrims.

The Supreme Court had in 2012 directed the Union government to gradually reduce and abolish Haj subsidy by 2022.