Committee constituted to review the HAJ policy

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Ministry of Minority Affairs has constituted a Committee on 31.01.2017 to review the Haj Policy 2013-17 and to suggest framework for Haj Policy 2018-22. This Committee comprises of Shri Afzal Amanullah, IAS (Retired), former Secretary to Government of India and former Consul General, Consulate General of India, Jeddah, Justice S.S. Parkar, Retired Judge of Bombay High Court, Shri Qaiser Shamim, IRS (Retd), former Chairman, Haj Committee of India, Shri Kamal Faruqui, noted Chartered Accountant & Muslim Scholar, Shri Michael Mascarenhas, former CMD, Air India and Shri J. Alam, Joint Secretary, in-charge of Haj, Ministry of Minority Affairs. The main issues taken up by the Committee are as under:

(i) Review the existing Haj policy pertaining to HCoI and PTOs in the light of its objectives and achievements.

(ii) Examine implications of various directions of the Supreme Court with regard to the existing policy and to suggest suitable amendments in the said policy in the light of such directions.

(iii) Review the effectiveness of arrangements made by HCoI for Haj pilgrims’ accommodation and air travel including issues related with Haj subsidy.

(iv) Examine the effectiveness of inter-relationship and coordination in the functioning of Haj Committee of India and CGI.

(v) Examine the aspects of transparency, consumer satisfaction and disclosure requirements for PTOs to protect interest of the Haj Pilgrims with a view to make the new policy of greater assistance to the pilgrims.

(vi) Suggest measure for ensuring fair competition among PTOs and enhanced value for services provided by them.

(vii) Suggest the framework for new Haj policy for HCoI and PTOs.

The Committee has been given a time of three months from its constitution for submission of report.

This information was given by Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Minister of State (IC) for Minority Affairs, in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.
Haj Subsidy

The responsibility for making air travel arrangements for Haj pilgrims identified by the Haj Committee of India (HCoI) is with Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA). The pilgrims deposit a fixed amount decided on year to year basis towards airfare to HCoI and the balance fare payable to the Airlines is paid by MoCA as subsidy to facilitate the Haj pilgrims. The subsidy given by the Government in 2013 was Rs 680 crores,  Rs 577 crores in 2014, Rs 529 crores in 2015 and Rs 405 crores in 2016.  Accordingly each pilgrim had paid Rs 28,000 in 2013, Rs 35,000 in 2014, Rs 42,000 in 2015 and Rs 45,000 in 2016.
The total amount charged from each Pilgrim varies depending on the category of accommodation and the amount of airport charges for the embarkation point plus the fixed amount deposited towards airfare. For Haj 2016, the total amount for Azizia category was Rs.1,85,000/- (approx.) and for Green Category was Rs.2,19,000/- (approx.).
As per directions of the Supreme Court to progressively reduce Haj subsidy so as to completely eliminate it within a period of 10 years, Haj subsidy has been gradually reduced from Rs.836.56 crore in 2012-13 to Rs. 405 crore (approx) in the year 2016-17 and various aspects linked to it are determined and implemented. Representations on various aspects of Haj including Haj subsidy are received in the Ministry from time to time, which are considered as per existing Policy of the Government.

Haj Quota

As per the Annual Bilateral Agreement signed between India and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for Haj 2017, a quota of 1,70,025 pilgrims (1,25,025 seats for Haj Committee of India and 45,000 seats for Private Tour Operators) has been allocated as against the quota of 1,36,020 pilgrims (1,00,020 seats for Haj Committee of India and 36,000 seats for Private Tour Operators) during previous year.
The quota allotted to Haj Committee of India are allocated to all States/ Union Territories Haj Committees including the States of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana, in proportion of their Muslim population as per Census 2011.
The Supreme Court while dealing with the Special Leave Petition (Civil) inter alia observed that Haj subsidy is something that is best done away with and directed the Central Government to progressively reduce the amount of subsidy so as to completely eliminate within a period of 10 years. Accordingly, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), which is responsible for making air travel arrangements for Haj Pilgrims identified by HCoI and to provide subsidy towards airfare payable to the airlines, has progressively reduced the subsidy for Haj operations from the year 2012 onwards. An amount of Rs.836.56 crore as subsidy was given by the Government in 2012-13. Progressively, it reduced to Rs.680.03 crore in the year 2013-14 , Rs.577.07 cror in 2014-15, Rs. 529.51 crore in 2015-16 and Rs. 405 crore (approx) in the year 2016-17.
Every year a Haj Air Travel Committee (HATC) is constituted by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to look into the various aspects of air travel arrangements for Haj pilgrimage. For Haj 2017, the HATC has been constituted on 02.01.2017 under the Chairmanship of Joint Secretary, MoCA and comprising of Joint Secretary level Officers of Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Director, Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Chief Executive Officer, HCoI and a representative of Airports Authority of India.