Mumbai, Nov 12: Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Sunday said the government has been working to make the entire Haj process online to bring in transparency and convenience for the pilgrims.
The Minister said the announcement had been made one month in advance to give more time for preparations, adding the applications for Haj will be available from November 15 onwards.
He asserted Haj 2018 will be performed as per the new Haj Policy which is going to be finalised soon by the ministry after examining the recommendations of the high-level committee constituted to frame the new Haj policy. The committee has submitted its report.
Apart from this, Naqvi also launched a new Haj mobile app through which application for Haj can be directly made and registration fee can also be paid.
While launching the app he stated “This app will make Haj application process easier and comfortable. Application for Haj, enquiry and information, news and updates and e-payment are some of the main features of this mobile app,”
“For the first time, for Haj 2018, details of total expenditure to be incurred by the pilgrims is given in the Haj application form. This is a step towards transparency.”
The Haj application form for 2018 contains the embarkation points-wise detailed air fare comparison which will enable the pilgrims to make an informed choice about the embarkation point.
The pilgrims for the first time will get to choose the embarkation point according to their convenience.
“For example, Haj air fare per pilgrim from Srinagar is Rs 1,09,692 while from Delhi it is Rs 73,697. So, the pilgrims from Jammu and Kashmir can opt for Delhi embarkation point,” said Naqvi.
“Similarly, the Haj air fare from Guwahati is Rs 1,15,646 per pilgrim while it is Rs 83,027 from Kolkata. So, the pilgrims from Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim can opt for Kolkata,” he explained.
Pilgrims from Gaya, where the airfare is Rs 1,13,680, can also choose Kolkata.
“This will ensure that the pilgrims don’t face problems even after abolition of Haj subsidy,” Naqvi said.
The HCI has expressed disagreement with some of the recommendations, including that of abolishing quota for senior citizen applicants , who are above 70 years and would allow the women above 45 years in a group of four or more to perform Haj without a male relative or “mehram”.
Last time, around 1,24,940 persons performed Haj through Haj Committee of India while about 45,000 pilgrims went their own.
HCI Chairman Mehboob Ali Kaiser, its CEO Maqsood Ahmed Khan and senior officials of the Minority Affairs Ministry were also attended the event.