India: Free Hajj Application and Reduced Cost
New Delhi — Indian government has reduced the cost of Hajj pilgrimage by Rs 50,000 per person for its Muslim citizens, while Hajj application is free of cost. This is to make the pilgrimage more affordable, sources in the Ministry of Minority Affairs said on Monday.
Sources claim that the application for the Hajj pilgrimage, which cost Rs 400 last year, will now be completely free.
Sources said, “Hajj application will be free this time. All Hajj pilgrims will apply free of cost. This time the cost of Hajj pilgrimage will be cheaper by about Rs 50,000 per person. No extra charges will be demanded from them for carrying bags, suitcases, umbrellas, or sheets. However, the Muslims who will undertake the Hajj pilgrimage will buy their goods at their own level. Elderly, differently-abled and women will get priority. Any woman above 45 years of age can now apply for Hajj alone”.
Furthermore, according to the sources, out of the 1.75 lac applicants for Hajj, 80% would go through the Hajj committee and 20% will use private tour companies.
This time, 25 locations will be identified through which a pilgrim may easily complete his Hajj.
According to sources, special provisions will also be provided for children of single mothers.
Srinagar, Ranchi, Gaya, Guwahati, Indore, Bhopal, Mangaluru, Goa, Aurangabad, Banaras, Jaipur, Nagpur, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Chennai, Vijayawada, and Agartala are among the 25 locations shown on the map.
“The health check-ups will be done only at government health centres. Private hospital check-ups will not be valid. The Ministry of Minority Affairs has contacted the Ministry of Health in this regard. An officer from the Hajj Committee of every state will also go on Hajj”, sources said.
Over 30,000 Muslims from Uttar Pradesh will perform the Hajj pilgrimage this year, according to a previous announcement from the Uttar Pradesh Hajj Committee. It also stated that women pilgrims would no longer be required to travel with a mahram—a man who usually travels with a woman during the Hajj.
According to Saudi government’s announcement made in October, a mahram, a male blood relative with whom marriage is prohibited, is no longer necessary to accompany a woman pilgrim from any country in Saudi Arabia.