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Centre invites suggestions from people to review Haj policy

TOPSHOTS Muslim pilgrims perform the final walk (Tawaf al-Wadaa) around the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Mecca on November 30, 2009. The annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage to Mecca wound up without the feared mass outbreak of swine flu, Saudi authorities said, reporting a total of five deaths and 73 proven cases. AFP PHOTO/MAHMUD HAMS (Photo credit should read MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

New Delhi: The Centre has invited suggestions to review its present Haj policy and to frame a new one in view of the 2012 Supreme Court order on gradually reducing and abolishing subsidy given to the pilgrims by 2022.

The Union Minority Affairs Ministry has appealed to people to send their views about the problems with the existing policy and ways to improve it.

The suggestions are to be sent by e-mail by May 24 at hprcmma@gov.in.

“A high-level panel set up to suggest framework for the new Haj policy (2018-22) will also hear in person the suggestions people have to make on May 25,” a senior official of the ministry said.

The ministry had formed the panel in February 2017 under the convenorship of former Consulate General of India (CGI), Jeddah Afzal Amanullah.

It is tasked with examining implications of the various directions of the apex court with regard to the existing Haj policy and recommends suitable amendments to it.

India’s quota for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, considered as holy by Muslims, is 1.70 lakh. Out of these, 1.25 lakh travel through the Haj Committee of India (HCoI) and the remaining 45,000 through private tour operators.

The SC had, in its 2012 order, asked the government to invest the subsidy amount of approximately Rs 650 crore a year on educational and social development of the community.