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Haj subsidy ends in 2018

Haj is an annual pilgrimage and is a religious obligation for all Muslims, wealth and health permitting. The journey is seen as one of the five pillars of Islam. It is central to the faith. The haj pilgrims spend five days praying both in Mecca and the surrounding desert.

In the year 2012 Supreme Court of India ordered that Haj subsidy must end by 2022. The Supreme Court observed that Haj by Indian Muslims is funded to a substantial extent by the Indian Government. The Court ruled that this subsidy is unconstitutional and is inconsistent with the teachings of Quran. The bench of Supreme Court which passed this order was headed by Justice Aftab Alam.

Government of India has decided to end Haj subsidy from the year 2018. Phasing out the Haj subsidy was a long-standing plan of the Government of India. It was necessitated not only by fiscal prudence or politics, but an order of the Supreme Court which, in 2012, stated in no uncertain terms that 10 years would be the upper limit for the continuation of the Haj subsidy. Following is a representative data on Haj subsidy.

Sr No Year Subsidy Amount in Crore
1 2012 782 Crore
2 2013 575 Crore
3 2014 477 Crore
4 2015 401 Crore
5 2016 284 Crore
6 2017 200 Crore
7 2018 Stopped
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba

The Haj subsidy has been reducing since 2012. This is the year when Supreme Court directed Government of India to progressively reduce the subsidy and make it zero by the year 2022. This money can be used to uplift the community in education and other pointers of social development. The NDA government policy has been to empower minorities without appeasement. Congress also has not objected to the end of this subsidy.

Around 1.75 lakh Muslims will go for Haj this year. This will be the highest number since independence.

Article by Col P Chandra (Retd)


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