Raising concerns over scrapping Haj subsidy, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind urges Govt to setup Haj Corporation, float global tender for hiring private international airlines
New Delhi, 17 Jan. 2018: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind has raised concerns over the government of India’s recent decision to end the Haj subsidy. It urged the centre to setup Haj Corporation of India along the lines of Tabung Haji, Malaysia and floating a global tender for hiring private international airlines for Haj.
Reacting to the announcement, the Secretary General of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind – Muhammad Salim Engineer in a press statement said: “We are concerned at the decision of the government to abruptly end the so called Haj subsidy given to Muslim pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia for performing Haj. Although the decision is in line with the Supreme Court judgment of 2012 to slowly withdraw the subsidy by 2022, this step is incomplete. Moreover a false impression is being created that this subsidy was an appeasement of the Muslim community and a drag on tax payer’s money. But the reality is that this subsidy was a payment taken from the Indian Hajis and given to the national carrier Air India, which had a monopoly for ferrying Hajis to Saudi Arabia. With no announcement yet on removing the monopoly of Air India to ferry Hajis and with no scope for letting the pilgrims to purchase tickets from an airline of their choice, this decision to withdraw subsidy is bound to increase the overall cost of performing Haj which will impact many pilgrims from the poor and deprived sections of society.”
He said, “Jamaat is therefore deeply concerned by the decision to withdraw Haj subsidy and urges the government to spell out how it plans to permit other airlines to fly Hajis from India given the exorbitant prices our national carrier Air India charges Indian pilgrimages over the India-Saudi Haj route. We wish to remind the government of its duty to establish Haj Corporation of India along the lines of Tabung Haji, Malaysia and floating a global tender for hiring private international airlines for Haj”.