New Delhi: The Union Minister of Minority Affairs on Tuesday announced the scrapping of Haj subsidy from this year.
The subsidy is a means of financial support that the Centre grants to Indian Haj pilgrims in the form of discounted air fares on Indian Government owned carriers.
Naqvi said that despite the subsidy withdrawal, a record number of 1.75 lakh Muslims will undertake the pilgrimage from India this year.
Naqvi also said that the Saudi Arabian government has in principle agreed to allow Haj journey from India by ships and officials of the two countries will sit together to finalise the modalities.
"This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement," Naqvi told reporters and cited a host of measures for the welfare of minorities.
"Muslims didn't benefit from it. Development with dignity is what we believe in. The subsidy will be used for educating girls," Naqvi further said.
Earlier this year, Naqvi had said that the Centre would abolish the subsidy for Haj pilgrims in accordance with a Supreme Court order.
"A constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had, during the Congress regime in 2012, 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....