Muslim pilgrims will no longer be given subsidy for Haj from this year onwards. The Narendra Modi-led government ended Haj subsidiary saying the decision is part of its agenda to empower minorities without appeasement.
The development was confirmed by Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Tuesday.
"Subsidy on Haj is over from this year. The money saved will used for education of the community,” Minority Affairs Minister said,
“This year 1.75 lakh Muslims will go for Haj. This is the highest ever number,” added the minority affairs minister.
The policy to withdraw the Haj subsidy had been drafted in light of Supreme Court order in 2012. The court had asked the centre then to abolish the subsidy gradually by 2022.
Number of pilgrims are likely to go high for Haj pilgrimage in 2018, after Saudi Arabia hiked India's pilgrim quota by 5,000 earlier this year.
According to government data, more than 1,300 women will make the annual pilgrimage without a ‘Mehram (male guardian)’ after Riyadh allowed a group of at least four women over the age of 45 to go on Haj without a male companion.