The Haj Committee submitted a draft proposal to Ministry for Minority Affairs on Saturday recommending complete Abolishment of Haj subsidy and allowing women above the age of 45 to travel without a mehram. The Centre has also decided to abolish the subsidy for Haj pilgrims in accordance with a Supreme Court order.
The draft Haj Policy 2018-22 has proposed the abolishing of Haj subsidy and allowing women above the age of forty-five to travel without a Mehram in a group of atleast 4 women. The policy was submitted to the Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
According to the proposed policy, the committee has suggested to abolish the subsidy provided to Muslims traveling for Haj. Moreover, the policy also suggests to allow Muslim women above the age of 45 to go for Haj without a Mehram (a Mehram is a male member of the family to whom the woman can never marry, i.e., father, son and brother). Women in groups of four atleast and above the age of 45 years will now be allowed to travel to Haj.
Mumbai: Women above 45 years will not need a male relative to accompany them for Haj as per recommendations of the Haj review committee for a new Haj policy. Minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Saturday said that women will be allowed to perform Haj without a ‘Mehram’ (a male relative by blood) in a group of four or more.
The Centre has also decided to abolish the subsidy for Haj pilgrims in accordance with a Supreme Court order. “A constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had, during the Congress regime in 2012, directed that the Haj subsidy be done away with. Hence, in the new policy, as per the recommendations of a committee, we have decided to do away with the Haj subsidy gradually,” Naqvi said.
He added that the money spent on the Haj subsidy will be used for the educational empowerment of the Muslim community. It has also been recommended that coupons for ‘Adahi’ (sacrifice of animals) be made compulsory for all the pilgrims and the quota of Mehram be increased from the present 200 to 500. An additional quota for Jammu and Kashmir from 1,500 to 2,000 has also been recommended.
The committee suggested that the number of embarkation points (EPs) be reduced from 21 to nine and those should be at Delhi, Lucknow, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kochi. It also recommended that suitable Haj houses be built at these EPs.
The recommendations were made after the Ministry of Minority Affairs had constituted a committee to review the existing Haj policy and suggest a framework for a new policy for 2018-22. The draft was submitted to Naqvi on Saturday in Mumbai.