Jeddah: Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Hon’ble Minister for Minority Affairs of the Government of India, is on a visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia leading a high-level delegation for signing of India-Saudi Arabia bilateral agreement on Haj-2020 arrangements for Indian pilgrims on 01 December 2010. Hon’ble Minister is accompanied by Shri Jan-e-Alam, Additional Secretary (Haj) in the Ministry of Minority Affairs; Shri Sheikh Jina Nabi, Acting Chairman of Haj Committee of India; Shri Satyendra Kumar Mishra, Joint Secretary in Ministry of Civil Aviation; Dr. Maqsood Ahmad Khan, CEO in Haj Committee of India; Shri Nijamuddin, Director (Haj) in Ministry of Minority Affairs; Shri Sunil Gautam, Private Secretary to the Minister Jeddah; Shri Rambabu, Chief General Manager (Haj Operations) in Air India, Shri Ibrahim Kolsawala, Representative of Haj Group Organizers. The delegation from India is joined by Dr. Ausaf Sayeed, Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia; Shri Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh, Consul General of India in Jeddah and Shri Y. Sabir, Consul (Haj).
• India-Saudi Bilateral Agreement on Haj-2020 Arrangements was signed today. From the Indian side, the Agreement was signed by Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Hon’ble Minister for Minority Affairs while from the Saudi side the Agreement was signed by H.E. Dr. Mohammad Saleh Bin Tahir Bantan, Minister of Hajj & Umrah.
• The Indian delegation led by Minister of Minority Affairs met with the Saudi side led by Saudi Minister of Hajj & Umrah. The two sides had a fruitful discussion on the whole gamut of issues related to Indian Haj pilgrims and Haj pilgrimage. Hon’ble Minister of Minority Affairs conveyed Government of India’s appreciation for the excellent arrangements made by the Kingdom for Hajj-2019. He also reiterated India’s gratitude for the extraordinary support provided to all Indian agencies involved in making arrangements for Indian Haj pilgrims.
• Prior to the above meeting, an Official-level meeting led by Ambassador of India from the Indian side and Dr. Abdul Fattah Bin Sulaiman Mashat, Deputy Minister, from the Saudi side was held at Saudi Haj Ministry at Jeddah. Deliberations in the meeting included all aspects of Haj arrangements, including accommodation, transport, air charter, facilities in Mashaer region, etc. as well as various measures undertaken to facilitate pilgrimage of Haj pilgrims, in particular Indian pilgrims.
• Another meeting was held between Ministry of Civil Aviation and Air India from the Indian side and GACA from the Saudi side in which various aspects of Haj Air Charter operations were discussed.
• Officials from the Indian delegation will also meet with officials of Naqabah Satyyarat tomorrow during which Agreement for various transport services for Indian pilgrims will be signed. A meeting with the South Asian Moassassa is also scheduled to discuss about various services provided by the Moallims, particularly in the Masher region , for the pilgrims
• As you may be aware, we have started preparations for Haj-2020. We have already received a large number of applications for performing Haj through Haj Committee of India.
• For Haj-2020, Indian pilgrims will be coming to Saudi Arabia through 22 embarkation points (it was 21 for Haj-2019)
• It may be recalled that India’s Haj-2019 operations went off smoothly and incident – free. Record number of 200,000 Indian pilgrims (including 140,000 through HCOI and 60,000 through HGOs) had come for performing Haj in 2019.
HAJ 2019: Key Highlights
• India’s Haj-2019 operations went off smoothly and incident – free. Record number of 199,936 Indian pilgrims (including 139,987 through HCOI and 59,949 through HGOs)had come for performing Haj in 2019.
• In Makkah, Indian Haj Mission set up a Main Office, along with several Operational Desks in it, and 16 well-equipped and round-the-clock functional Branches-cum-Dispensaries for Haj operations and delivering prompt service to pilgrims. In Madinah also, a Main Office and 03 Branches-cum-Dispensaries were set up. In addition, Jeddah Haj Terminal and Madinah airport also had Office-cum-Dispensary. The Offices/Branches were manned by the Consulate officials along with 620 Deputationists (Administrative and Medical) and about 900 local seasonal staff.
• Comprehensive arrangements were made for smooth reception, comfortable stay and hassle-free movement of 2,229 female pilgrims who came for Haj without male Mehram, by providing them dedicated buildings, separate branch-cum-dispensary, bus-point and buses. The arrangements were supervised by a senior female Officer and assisted by female officials and 10 female Khadim-ul-Hujjaj.
Based on CGI Jeddah’s pre-allotment of buildings in Makkah and Madinah, for the first time, HCOI put tags on baggages of pilgrims with their building details along with room number allotted. This enabled prompt sorting of baggages and quick delivery to respective pilgrims.
For the first time, pre-allotment of accommodation was successfully introduced in Madinah despite several challenges. It drastically reduced the time taken in check-in of pilgrims and eased the sorting of pilgrims’ baggages. Pre-allotment of accommodation in Makkah has been continuing for many years.
• For the first time, Online Surveys were introduced through the Mobile App ‘Indian Haji Information System’, developed by the Consulate. For Haj-2019, 85,649 Hajis of HCOI participated in online survey as compared to only 25,284 for Haj-2018 which was surveyed by using printed Survey Forms. The number of survey of HGO Hajis also rose to 8,413 for Haj-2019 as compared to 7,566 last year.
• Elaborate arrangements were made for accommodation of HCOI pilgrims in 459 buildings in Makkah. Better quality buildings were hired with much better pilgrims/toilet ratio (4.03 in NCNTZ category and 5.19 in Azizia category as compared to 12 allowed under hiring norms) and pilgrims/kitchen ratio (19.04 as against 30 permitted)in Azizia.
• Excellent medical facilities were made available for Indian pilgrims and special care was taken for pilgrims falling in the High-Risk Group. Diagnostic facilities such as, ultrasound, ECG, X-Ray etc. were also available.Three hospitals (40 bedded, 30 bedded and 10 bedded) in Makkah and a 15-bedded main Dispensary in Madinah were set up. The hospitals and dispensaries were managed by 170 Doctors (including 2 Medical Coordinators) and 181 medical staff sent on deputation by Ministry of Minority Affairs. The Ministry also sent medicines and medical equipment worth about INR 3.5 crores from India. Total 17 ambulances and medical task force team were available round the clock to cater to urgent medical requirements of pilgrims.
• Use of e-MASIHA (Medical Assistance System for Indian Hajis Abroad), an online system launched by the Consulate in Haj 2018 to create and maintain comprehensive health database of Indian Hajis and management of medical stock, was enhanced. This year In-Patient Details (IPD) was also integrated in e-MASIHA.
• For about 1,22,000 HCOI pilgrims in Azizia, round-the-clock bus service was arranged, with 16 shaded bus points in Azizia and 3 bus points near Haram, to facilitate commutation between their accommodation and Haram Sharief. New and good quality buses of 2018 model and above were used for Azizia-Haram transport as well as movement of pilgrims between Makkah and Madinah.
• Tricolour umbrella, two new bed sheets and pillow covers were distributed to all HCOI pilgrims in their Makkah accommodation. Cleaning brush with pan were provided in all 31,221 rooms of pilgrims in Makkah. In addition, bucket and mug, WC brush with base, toilet wiper, lota and disinfectant were provided in all 27,388 bathrooms of pilgrims.
• Refilling of gas cylinders, upto two times, in 6403 kitchens of HCOI pilgrims staying in Azizia category was arranged and the Consulate facilitated subsequent refilling also.
• Mobile SIM cards were distributed in India in cooperation with HCOI. Haj Mission facilitated activation of SIM cards by ensuring availability of Mobily counters in airport and buildings of pilgrims.
• Total 71,846 Adahi (Sacrificial) coupons were provided to HCOI pilgrims, including 63,936 coupons distributed to pilgrims who had opted for it and 7,910 pilgrims who made purchases through the Haj Mission.
• Metro Train Tickets were distributed to 73,960 Indian pilgrims in their buildings in Makkah.
• Remote city check-in or advanced collection of check-in baggages of HCOI pilgrims before their departure for a hassle-free and comfortable return to India.
• A dedicated Toll-Free Number (8002477786) and Whatsapp Number (+966-559817966) operated round-the-clock to address any concern of Indian pilgrims promptly and effectively.
A43-minute-long Film/Video titled ‘A Practical Guide to Perform Haj’ was made for training and orientation of Indian pilgrims. The video was also screened in haj charter flights and pilgrims’ buildings in Makkah.
• Pilgrimage operations related news was regularly updated on YouTube as well as on social media, including Facebook and Twitter.