Hyderabad: Revenue generated from the interest on deposits collected in the form of advance payment from Haj pilgrims has raised eyebrows.
Earlier, pilgrims had to pay the amount in two instalments and the second instalment was collected a month before departure.
The Haj Committee of India has now asked provisionally selected Haj pilgrims to pay the first instalment of Rs 81,000 before February 5 and the second instalment of Rs 1.20 lakh before March, while flights start from July 1.
The third instalment is to be paid between mid-May and mid-June. The final amount will be decided after finalisation of tenders for airfare in dollars and expenses in Saudi Arabia in Saudi riyals. This will not exceed Rs 32,000 for the Azizia category and Rs 55,000 for the Green category.
The Haj Committee of India has been allotted 1.25 lakh pilgrims. According to sources, the Haj Committee pays most service providers only after the pilgrims return. Amounts received from pilgrims meanwhile are deposited in banks and generate interest. The total first instalment amount is Rs 1,012.50 crore and second instalment Rs 1,500 crore.
At a simple interest of 6 per cent per annum, the first instalment will generate Rs 16.63 lakh per day, and the Haj Committee will earn more than Rs 50 crore from the interest on the advances. The Haj Committee neither transfers this amount to the pilgrims nor deducts it from them as interest is forbidden in Islam. Instead, it enjoys the interest as revenue.
Asked about this, TS Haj Committee chairman Masiullah Khan said he was writing to the Central Haj Committee requesting them to collect the second and third instalments a month before departure. He said revenue generated from interest should be distributed to the state Haj Committees in proportion of the number of pilgrims.