New Delhi, Sep 11 : The Union Government on Thursday increased the annual quota for Haj pilgrimage to 1.23 lakh. However, there will be no corresponding increase in the amount spent as Haj subsidy.
"Till now, 110,000 pilgrims were able to perform the Haj on government subsidy. This year, the number has been raised to 123,211," Information and Broadcasting Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi told reporters.
"The airfare for these pilgrims has been pegged at last year's level of Rs 12,000," the Minister added.
From this year, Indore will become the 17th embarkation point for pilgrims undertaking the Haj.
"This will facilitate pilgrims from Madhya Pradesh," Dasmunsi said.
The government also provides subsidy for the pilgrims on the airfare to Saudi Arabia.
There have always been more applicants from states like Kerala and Maharashtra. The committee would adjust these applicants against those states that have smaller Muslim populations.
For instance, a total of 9,401 Muslims from Kerala had applied to the committee this year. The quota for the state last year was 7,563 and pilgrims from Kerala were adjusted against vacant slots from other states like Bihar.