Hajj subsidy scrapped: ‘Hope the amount is used for minority welfare', says Ahmed Patel
Congress leader Ahmed Patel on Wednesday wrote to Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi over the scrapping of Hajj subsidy yesterday. Ahmed, in his letter, asked whether the amount saved is being used for the welfare of Muslims.
Ahmed wrote that the Supreme Court had in 2012 asked the Hajj subsidy to be reduced in a span of 10 years, but the government did it well in advance.
"I sincerely hope that this reduction in outlay by nearly Rs 200 crore has been matched by an increased investment in the welfare of the community, as mandated by the Honourable Supreme Court," the latter said.
He also asked the government to share the details of expenditure.
The government on Tuesday decided to withdraw Hajj subsidy to pilgrims. It may be recalled that the Supreme Court had in 2012 directed that subsidy on air travel should be phased out in ten years.
The court had said that as regards the Hajj subsidy, from the figures for the past 19 years given in the affidavit filed by the Union of India, it appears that the amount of subsidy has been increasing every year.
The Haj subsidy is a subsidy given to Indian Muslim Hajj pilgrims by the Government of India in form of discounted Air fares on Indian Government owned Air India. The programme has its origins in British colonial era.
Over the years the subsidy has gradually reduced. In the year 2012, the subsidy extended was Rs 836.56 crore. This amount reduced to Rs 680.03 crore in 2013. In 2014 it further reduced to Rs 533 crore. In the year 2015 the subsidy was at Rs 529.51 crore and in 2016 it reduced to Rs 405 crore.