The Haj subsidy was removed last year in the light of a 2012 SC verdict.
Mumbai: Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi Monday claimed that eliminating middlemen had ensured that the Haj pilgrimage did not become expensive despite removal of the Haj subsidy. The Haj subsidy was removed last year in the light of a 2012 Supreme Court verdict.
Speaking at the inaugural session of a two-day training programme related to Haj 2019, the Union minority affairs minister said, “Eliminating middlemen has ensured that the Haj pilgrimage does not become expensive even after removal of the Haj subsidy.”
Mr Naqvi said that the airfare for the Haj pilgrimage decreased significantly in 2018, even after removal of the Haj subsidy, and pilgrims saved about `57 crore (in airfares). Naqvi said that GST on the Haj pilgrimage had been reduced from 18 per cent to five per cent, which would ensure savings of about `113 crore by Haj pilgrims during the 2019 Haj. Reduction in GST on the Haj pilgrimage would ens-ure significant decrease in airfare from various embarkation points.
He also claimed that the transparency ensured by the government meant that there was no additional, unnecessary financial burden on pilgrims.
Air fare from Srinagar would be reduced by Rs 11,377.07; from Ahmedabad by Rs 7305.95; from Aurangabad by Rs 9373.68; from Delhi by Rs 7967.62; from Gaya by Rs 11027.85; from Guwahati by Rs 13049.63; from Ranchi by Rs 11946.84; from Kolkata by Rs 9787.22; and Hydebarad by Rs 7204.87 this year, he said.
Naqvi said that the ministry of minority affairs, in cooperation with the Saudi Arabia Haj Consulate, Haj Committee of India and other concerned agencies, had advanced Haj 2019 preparations by three months before schedule to make the pilgrimage more comfortable.