By S A H RIZVI
The Times Kuwait
Chief of Bureau New Delhi
In what is seen as seamless and totally digitalised operation, over 80,000 pilgrims will embark on their Haj pilgrimage to Makkah this year after a two-year lock down that the world faced due to the Corona pandemic. The first flight will take off on 31st of May.
Prior to the corona pandemic, the total number of pilgrims from India was over 2,00,000 which saw a rise of over 40 percent since the Modi government came to power. But this year the allocation has come down as the Saudi government is taking full precaution to prevent any health hazard.
Union Minister for Minority Affairs and Deputy Leader, Rajya Sabha, Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi says despite the haj subsidy being withdrawn no additional financial burden on Haj pilgrims is a proof that transparency and commitment to delivery has exposed the wrongs that had gone for years in the name of Haj subsidy
The minister said significant reforms done by the Modi Government in the entire Haj process have made the pilgrimage completely transparent and the Indian Government has made arrangements so that there was no unnecessary financial burden on the Haj pilgrims who will be performing Haj after two years.
Mr Naqvi said that 100 per cent digital/online Haj process has fulfilled the dream of “Ease of Doing Haj” for Indian Muslims. The digital/online Haj process is one of the best examples of “Digital India”.
Minister Naqvi said that the Haj 2022 is taking place with significant reforms giving utmost priority to health and well-being of the Haj pilgrims. The entire Haj 2022 process has been chalked out with necessary guidelines of the Indian Government and the Saudi Arabia Government. These include eligibility criteria, age limit, health related requirements etc.
Attributing the smooth operation to the Modi government , Mr Naqvi said the Government’s Haj reforms include abolishing the decades-old Haj subsidy; removing restriction on women to perform Haj with “Mehram” (male relative) only. About 2000 Muslim women will be going for Haj 2022 without “Mehram”)
According to Mr Naqvi 79,237 Indian Muslims will go for Haj 2022, these include about 50 per cent women. Out of these, 56,601 Indian Muslims will go for Haj 2022 through Haj Committee of India and 22,636 Muslims will go through Haj Group Organisers (HGOs).
Shri Naqvi said that for Haj 2022, the pilgrims will go through Haj Committee of India from 10 embarkation points- Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar.
Shri Naqvi said that flights for Haj 2022 will start from 31st May. In the first phase, Haj flights will start on 31st May from Bengaluru, Cochin, Delhi, Guwahati, Lucknow and Srinagar Embarkation Points. In the second phase, Haj flights will start on 17th June from Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai.
A total of 357 Haj Coordinators, Assistant Haj Officers, Haj Assistants, Doctors and Paramedics etc will be deployed in Saudi Arabia to assist the Indian Haj pilgrims. These include 4 Haj Coordinators, 33 Assistant Haj Officers, 143 Haj Assistants, 73 Doctors and 104 Paramedics. These deputations include 49 females- 1 Assistant Haj Officer, 3 Haj Assistants, 13 Doctors and 32 Paramedics.