New Delhi, Nov 3: Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led union government is all set to abolish Haj subsidy from 2018 following the recommendation of special committee set up in January this year.
The decision has come in the face of strong opposition from the Haj Committee of India that wants the subsidy phased out gradually by 2022, as directed by the Supreme Court in 2012.
A review meeting on a new Haj policy was held on Thursday between senior officials of the ministries of minority affairs, external affairs and civil aviation, Air India and the Haj Committee of India. Officials privy to the meeting confirmed to Express that the subsidy would be scrapped next year.
Before 2012, the amount of funds set aside for Haj subsidy was cited to the Supreme Court as averaging around Rs 650 crore per year. Since then, subsidies have gradually declined. Last year, the amount was pegged at Rs 450 crore.
A source, who did not wish to be named, said the government had agreed to certain suggestions by the stakeholders but made it clear that the subsidy would have to go in 2018 itself. Minority Affairs Ministry officials said Haj subsidy funds would from now on be used for educational empowerment and the welfare of minorities in the country.
India to abolish Haj subsidy from 2018