NewDelhi Jan 17: In a major move central Government has withdrawn the subsidy given to pilgrims who undertake Haj to Mecca and Medina.Minority affairs minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told the media that "No subsidy will be given to Haj pilgrims from 2018".
The Minister has added that "approximately Rs 250 crore was spent on Haj subsidy and the money would now be utilized for education and other welfare measures of Muslim women and girls.A Supreme Court order in 2012 had directed that Haj subsidy should be done away with in 10 years (by 2022). "
"Haj subsidy is being withdrawn. This is part of our policy of empowerment without appeasement and Haj with dignity. The Centre is in talks with Riyadh to work out modalities of sea travel to make Haj affordable for poor Muslims." he added.
Congress party has welcomed the decision but cautioned that the amount that was spent must for subsidies must be only utilized for the development of minorities and funds should not be diverted.
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