1.70 lakh pilgrims allocated for Haj 2017, subsidy to be reduced progressively

| Updated: Feb 09, 2017 00:25 IST

New Delhi, [India], Feb. 8 (ANI): As per the Annual Bilateral Agreement signed between India and Saudi Arabia, a quota of 1,70,025 pilgrims has been allocated for Haj 2017 as opposed to the quota of 1,36,020 pilgrims last year. Out of the total quota of 1.70 lakh, 1.25 lakh seats have been allotted to the Haj Committee of India (HCoI) and the remaining 45,000 to private tour operators. A Haj Air Travel Committee (HATC) is constituted every year by the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) to look into the various aspects of air travel arrangements for Haj pilgrimage. For Haj 2017, the HATC was constituted on 02.01.2017 under the Chairmanship of Joint Secretary of MoCA G. Ashok Kumar. The committee consists of other Joint Secretary level officers of Ministry of Minority Affairs, and Ministry of External Affairs. It further consists of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Chief Executive Officer of HCoI and a representative of the Airports Authority of India. The Supreme Court in 2012 directed the Central Government to progressively reduce the amount of Haj subsidy so as to completely eliminate it within a period of 10 years. Accordingly, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has progressively reduced the subsidy for Haj operations from an amount of Rs. 836.56 crore in 2012 to Rs. 405 crore in 2016. (ANI)