MUMBAI: Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Sunday morning flagged off the first batch of Haj pilgrims from Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport here.
Mr Naqvi said that Ministry of Minority Affairs, in cooperation with Saudi Arabia Haj Consulate, Haj Committee of India and other concerned agencies, had completed preparations for Haj 2018 well before time to ensure smooth pilgrimage.
”Haj 2018 is being organised according to the new Haj Policy. The new Haj policy has made the entire Haj process transparent and smooth. It has ensured better facilities for the pilgrims,” he said.
In 2017, a total of Rs 1,030 crore was paid to airlines for air fare for 1,24,852 Haj pilgrims. Whereas, in 2018, a total of Rs 973 crore will be paid to airlines for 1,28,702 Haj pilgrims, going through Haj Committee of India, the Minister informed.
Naqvi said despite removal of Haj subsidy and various new taxes imposed in Saudi Arabia; for the first time after the Independence, a record 1,75,025 Muslims from India are going to Haj this year that too without any additional financial burden. (AGENCIES)