Central government has decided on Tuesday to withdraw Haj subsidy. The muslims who go on Haj pilgrimage will not get subsidised or cheaper air tickets from this year onwards, the government said today.
"This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement. Muslims didn't benefit from it. Development with dignity is what we believe in. The subsidy will be used for educating girls," Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said.
The minister said despite Haj subsidy being withdrawn, a record 1.75 lakh Muslims would go on the pilgrimage this year after Saudi Arabia increased India's quota by 5,000.
Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow people to go on theHaj by ship, which is cheaper than flying, Naqvi said. Officials of both countries are working out the details, he said.
"A constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had, during the Congress regime, directed that the Haj subsidy be done away with. Hence, in the new policy, as per the recommendations of a committee, we have decided to do away with the Haj subsidy gradually," he had said.