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Minority Affairs Ministry to take care of Haj affairs

Muslim pilgrims circle Islam's holiest shrine, the Kaaba, at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, on September 6, 2016.
The annual Hajj pilgrimage begins on September 10, and more than a million Muslims have already flocked to Saudi Arabia in preparation for what will for many be the highlight of their spiritual lives.  / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI
Muslim pilgrims circle Islam's holiest shrine, the Kaaba, at the Grand Mosque in the Saudi holy city of Mecca, on September 6, 2016. The annual Hajj pilgrimage begins on September 10, and more than a million Muslims have already flocked to Saudi Arabia in preparation for what will for many be the highlight of their spiritual lives. / AFP PHOTO / AHMAD GHARABLI

The work related to management of Haj pilgrimage, including administration of the Haj Committee Act, 2002 and rules made there under has been transferred from Ministry of External Affairs to Ministry of Minority Affairs. Ministry of Minority Affairs has taken over the work of Haj Division of MEA with effect from 1st October, 2016, according to a PIB release.

Hajj is one of the most complex organizational tasks undertaken by Government of India outside Indian borders. Indian pilgrims constitute the third largest national group performing the Hajj. Since the year 2013 about 136,000 pilgrims visit Saudi Arabia every year for performing Haj. Given its complexity and geographical spread, Haj Management requires meticulous planning and close coordination with various ministries and agencies. Thus, it is a year-long managerial exercise.

Haj management involves concerted efforts of Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, M/o Health, Consulate General of India, Jeddah (CGI), Haj Committee of India (HCoI) and State/UT Haj Committees. All aspects of the arrangements for the HCOI pilgrims in Saudi Arabia are coordinated by the Consulate General of India (CGI), Jeddah under the overall supervision of the Ambassador of India in Riyadh. In India, the Haj Committee of India established under the Hajj Committee Act, 2002 is responsible for making the arrangements for matters connected with Hajj.

With the transfer of Haj related works from MEA, M/o Minority Affairs will be the nodal Ministry for all matters related to Haj pilgrimage, the press release added. (INN)

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