New Delhi: Haj pilgrims will no longer receive any subsidy this year onwards, the government announced on Tuesday.
Union minister for minority affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today confirmed that the Haj subsidy has been withdrawn.
The government will offer air and waterways option for the pilgrims as the cost will go up.
The cut in funds meant for subsidy will be used for educational empowerment and welfare of girls from minority communities, as per reports.
“This is part of our policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement,” Naqvi told reporters.
Saudi Arabian government had agreed to allow people to go on the Haj by ships, which are cheaper than flights. Officials of the two countries would together finalise the arrangement, reports said.
The minister had said earlier that the Centre would abolish the subsidy for Haj pilgrims in keeping with a Supreme Court order in 2012.
Days ago, the government had also allowed Muslim women above 45 to go on Haj without a male guardian, in a group of at least four.