Hyderabad: Hajj subsidy to Muslims began way back in British rule. Later Independent India started giving it under Hajj Act in 1959. The subsidy is given to Indian Muslims going on the pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Jordon. The pilgrims are sent to Jeddah direct from the airport and the subsidy is given on the fare. Before Hajj the airfare is increased to the tune of Rs. 60000 from the normal return ticket which is Rs. 25000. This lays a burden on the pilgrims. Rs. 5 to 6 thousand is collected as airport tax. Yearly nearly 1.5 lakh people go for Holy pilgrimage; thus Rs. 100 Cr is collected by way of airport fee. Similarly air ticket fee of Rs. 5000 to Rs. 6000 is collected additionally.
The Hajj subsidy given by the government of India during the last 6 years is as follows, Rs. 837 Cr in 2012, Rs. 680 Cr in 2013, Rs. 577 Cr in 2014, Rs. 530 Cr in 2015, R.s 405 Cr. In 2016, Rs. 200 Cr in 2017.
However, this must be also be noted that thousands of crores of additional fee is collected at the time of Hajj by the airlines in the form of air ticket and several hundred crores are collected by the government in the name of airport fee.
While the subsidy given to Hajj pilgrims are in some hundred crores, the additional air ticket and airport fee collected is much more than the subsidy given.
Muslims were demanding for several years to scrap subsidy and slash airport fee. Now that the Hajj subsidy has been cancelled Muslims demand to call a global tender for air travel so that the travelling charges of the pilgrims could be reduced.