How much Subsidy does the Government extend to Haj Pilgrims?

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Debate on secularism in India is probably incomplete without the reference to subsidies extended by the Government to various religious activities of citizens. The subsidy extended to Haj Pilgrims is one such direct subsidy. Based on a Supreme Court order in 2012, the Government of India has been steadily decreasing the amount of subsidy extended to the Haj Pilgrimage and announced that no such subsidy will be extended this year. 

Debate on secularism in India is probably incomplete without the reference to subsidies extended by the Government to the religious activities of citizens. The subsidy extended to Haj Pilgrims is one such direct subsidy. Now that the government has announced that no subsidy will be extended to Haj pilgrims, here is a look at the past numbers.

The Haj Pilgrimage
Haj pilgrimage is organized annually during which Muslim pilgrims visit Makkah, Mina, Arafat, Muzadalifa and Madinah in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia allocates a quota to each country on the basis of one pilgrim for every thousand of the Muslim population of the country. Haj pilgrims either undertake pilgrimage through Haj Committee of India (HCOI) or the Private Tour Operators (PTO).

Number of Pilgrims
Between 2012 & 2017, a total of 6,71,388 Muslims have gone on Haj pilgrimage through the Haj Committee of India (HCOI) and  2,12,490 through Private Tour Operators (PTOs). The total number of pilgrims was close to 1.7 lakh in 2012 and had dropped to around 1.36 lakh in 2013. The quota remained at 1.36 lakh till 2016. In the year 2017, the quota increased to 1.7 lakh pilgrims. In 2017, there is an increase both in the quota of HCOI & PTOs.Which State sends the most Haj Pilgrims?
The state wise breakup of Haj Pilgrims who go through the PTOs is not available. But the state wise quota of Haj Pilgrims who undertake the pilgrimage through HCOI is available with the government. The state wise quota is decided on the basis of Muslim population of a state and the availability of applications. Hence states with a large Muslim population send the most number of Haj Pilgrims every year. Uttar Pradesh sends the maximum number of Haj Pilgrims every year followed by West Bengal & Maharashtra. In the six years from 2012 to 2017, Uttar Pradesh sent more than 1.62 lakh pilgrims, which is about 24% of the total number from India. The four states of UP, West Bengal, Maharashtra & Kerala account for close to 50% of the HCOI quota. Only these four states sent more than 50000 pilgrims each between 2012 & 2017. Of the bigger states, Punjab sent the last number of Haj pilgrims.

What kind of support does the Government Provide?
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) coordinates the Haj arrangements, in consultation with Haj Committee of India (HCOI) and Consulate General of India (CGI), Jeddah. MEA also sends 546 officials on deputation every year that include Coordinators, Assistant Haj Officers, Haj Assistants, Doctors & Para-medical staff for rendering assistance to the Haj pilgrims.

The Consulate General of India, Jeddah arranges for temporary Tents in Mina, sets up Dispensaries, Branch Haj Offices, arranges ambulances and other local transport for the Haj pilgrims with the approval of the MEA. Medicines and medical equipment are supplied by MEA to Consulate General of India, Jeddah to meet the medical requirements of Haj pilgrims. During Haj 2016, medicines worth Rs. 1.5 crores were supplied.

Ministry of Civil Aviation supervises the Air Charter operation during Haj period and deploys officials for support in Saudi Arabia to assist in embarkation and disembarkation of pilgrims.

What is the total subsidy amount?
Ministry of Civil Aviation provides subsidy for air travel to the pilgrims through the Haj Committee of India. The actual airfare differs based on the embarkation point.  The total subsidy amount as per data shared by the government Rs.837 crores in 2012. It has decreased to Rs 405 crore in 2016.The Haj pilgrims pay for the expenses incurred on air passage, accommodation, local transport within Saudi Arabia and food in Madinah etc. Haj Committee of India meets the costs of the Haj pilgrimage through the payments made by the pilgrims. No other external grant is provided by the Ministry of External Affairs to Haj Committee of India.

Why is the subsidy being removed?
The Supreme Court has directed in 2012, that the subsidy on air travel should be phased out in ten years. In this judgment, the Supreme Court observed that the subsidy amount was increasing every year. The subsidy provided by the government increased from Rs 10.51 crore in 1994 to Rs 837 crore in 2012.hajj pilgrimage subsidy india_Supreme Court ruling 10 yearsThe Supreme Court directed the government to phase out the subsidy and eliminate it in 10 years quoting from the Holy Quran that only those who afford should go on the Haj Pilgrimage.  The court also observed that this amount could be better utilized for the upliftment of the Muslim community.hajj pilgrimage subsidy india_Supreme Court quote Quran

In the same case, the court passed another order in July 2012 in which the number of Haj seats under VIP quota (Discretionary quota) to dignitaries has been restricted to 500 seats in the following manner.

  • President of India                :   100 seats
  • Vice-President of India        :   75 seats
  • Prime Minister of India        :   75 seats
  • External Affairs Minister      :   50 seats
  • Haj Committee of India       :   200 seats.

Featured Image: Ali Mansuri [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

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45 Comments

  1. Not so “factly”. The author forgot to mention about our demand to remove Hajj Subsidy, also he didn’t mention that the subsidy is not actually given to the pilgrims but to Air India.

    Remove Air India’s monopoly, and I am sure we won’t need the subsidy, in-fact the total cost of Hajj may come down substantially if other airlines allowed to compete.

    • Thanks for the comment Zeeshan. The portal is limited to providing only government information. We did mention that Air India ferries the passengers. Whether removing the monopoly would reduce the cost or not is something we cannot comment on.

    • is there monopoly? I mean other airlines are not allowed to operate on mecca madina routes? the article mentions that many travelers travel through PTOs (which is Private Tour Operators)… then definitely there must be other airlines too..

      • Yes other airlines do operate but in that case there is no subsidy provided by the govt. I strongly believe that all subsidy should be withdrawn but at the same time quote should be taken world wide and complete process should be made transparent. I am sure if it is done that way it will cost less than what it is costing now.

    • Dear zeesan u dont know that people who go to amarnath yatra have to pay 2000 rupay for seven day and after 7 day 2000 rupay each day asper j& k motor vehicle act 1994
      In vaishnodevi 2000 rupay for 3 day
      Goverment use this money for various project or sefty of pilgrim
      Many people see this through communal lenses but i think for betterment of pilgrim such tax is valid and it also imposed on all religious yatra whether haj. Or sikhism yatra as christian pay to visit vetecon city

    • 836 crore kya hawa me ud gaya.bhai apne bhai behen ko padhao hazz subsidy ke paise se200 hospital ban sakte hen.

    • How does Air India monopolize? You are free to take any flights from anywhere to go anywhere. Take a flight to Dubai and then to KSA who is stopping you? How does the subsidy go to Air India? They are flying you and are getting paid for that right? And stupid people like you are willing to give that money to a foreign country bcoz you are anyways traitors at heart and then you are treated like dirt when you land there.

    • Correct stop subsidy stop vote banking game from political team (but it should be not only opinion of some it should be more supporting from that community(heartfully) than only Will come to rule otherwise same game will continue ) best of luck

  2. No muslim shuld accept a single rupee from anyone to perform Hajj. It is immoral and goes against principles laid down in Holy quran. All Haj going Muslims should either avoid Air India or pay full amount.

    • That’s what the demand is. The seats available outside of Hajj Committee are very few, and the committee is governed by Ministry of External Affairs.
      Muslims have been demanding more open and transparent system, removal of this subsidy gimmick and interest-less bank accounts, nothing done till now.

  3. Mehboob Jakati on

    As per the website of Haj Committee of India the uniform subsidized fare per pilgrim is Rs42000/ whereas Saudia is offering tickets as low as Rs21400/if the ticket is booked two months in advance and even Jet airways is offering tickets at Rs26500/.On why the fare has been fixed at Rs42000/ and calling it subsidy is a mystery.

    • It certainly is suspicious, what govt gives is money taxed from all to focus on areas that need support, haajji, is one of very respected figures in society in general & muslim community in perticular, with Hajj committee in Govt control, it raises question, why subsidy is fixed at double the amount that is actually needed? Who actually is benefitting from subsidy? Indian airlines or the Haajis,

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  5. That is what i am looking for. Normal airfare from India to Saudi should not be more then 60000 for both sides. But govt fixes it over 1 Lac and saying we giving subsidy. It is like an item available for 10 Rupees but keep price tag at 40 Rupees then selling at 20 Rupees saying we are giving subsidy of 20 Rupees

  6. Very good compilation – as a secular nation we should not be spending at all, on any specific community.

    Would be worthwhile if we can see some analysis on –

    1. State and Central Govt spend on similar religious events like Ardha Kumbha Mela and Kumbha Mela, Pushkarams, Ganesh Immersion (reduced annually), Sikh, Jain, Buddhist and Christian religious events across the country.
    2. Please extend this analysis on the Govt expenditure on enforcing laws to protect religious sentiments like cow slaughter protection,etc and law and order machinery spent on minority and Hindu religious processions.
    3. Please also do an analysis on salary paid to priests of some communities by certain State Governments.

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  10. fact is
    actual return airfare is 36000
    air india charges 35-42000 in the name of subsidy…
    now please elaborate where is subsidy

  11. looks like the BJP & Congress are like P3ps1 and c0k3 , which definitely want to squeeze Indian people
    I have recently commented on one of the portals that it is neither Pakistanis nor Indians with enemity, it is the thirst of political a33h0les on both sides to keep the show running
    after hearing to few Muslim friends here, the price is hiked and then reduced, I feel this country will wake up once and kick on butts of both parties, we trusted kejr , but he too turned out to be another a33h0l3

  12. These subsidies are simply drama. It is actually subsidy to air India hahaa. Everyone knows it. India feels they are fooling others. That are mistaken but unfortunately Indian Muslims have limited options as rightly put by Zeeshan.

  13. Mahboob Shariff on

    THE HAJJ SUBSIDY…Myth and Reality **** Very Important ****
    Rs.10,33,60,00,000/- This amount goes to the Govt of India, but the truth is where this amount goes.

    Due to the issue of THE HAJJ SUBSIDY people from various religions and sects in India have been embarrassing and humiliating Muslims.

    IN REALITY IS IT REALLY GIVEN TO THE HAJI’S ??

    COME LET US CALCULATE.

    CALCULATION OF THE HAJJ SUBSIDY

    As of now the quota for Indian haji’s to travel to cities of Makkah and Madinah in Saudi Arabia for the HAJJ PILGRIMAGE is one Lac Thirty Six Thousand HAJI”S.

    Last year in the annual budget the government sanctioned Rs.691 Crores as Hajj subsidy.

    Rs.691 crores ÷ 1.36 lacs Haji’s = Rs.50,808/-.

    Means for one Haji the subsidy is Rs.50,000/-.

    ◀ LETS SUM UP THE EXPENDITURE ▶

    · For Hajj one haji needs to pay Rs.One Lac Eighty Thousand (Rs.1,80,000/-) to the government.

    From which Rupees Thirty Four Thousand (Rs.34,000/-) approximately SAR 2,100/- (Saudi Arabian Riyals) are given back to the Haji after reaching Makkah.

    Rs.1.86 lacs – Rs.34,000/- = Rs.1.46 lacs.

    Means eventually we pay Rupees One Lac Forty Six Thousand (Rs.1,46,000/-) to our government.

    · Mumbai to Jeddah return tickets if booked 2 months in advance, then would cost less than Rs.25,000/-, but still lets consider Rs.25,000/-. (This can be cross checked on irctc).

    · Food, taxi or bus expenses are to be borne by hajis from their own pocket.

    · Calculation of the expenditure from the amount Rs.1,46,000/- paid to the government:

    FLIGHT =25,000
    STAY IN MECCA (25 DAYS) =50,000
    STAY IN MADINA(15 DAYS) =20,000
    OTHER EXPENSES =25,000
    TOTAL EXPENSES =1,20,000

    ****CONFUSION****

    · Means amount taken from one Haji is Rs.1,46,000/- but total expenses are of Rs.1,20,000/-. Means one haji gives Rs.26,000/- to the government from his own pocket.

    · Now the real matter is when a haji bears all the expenses from his own pocket and on top of that additional Rs.26,000/- goes to government.

    Meaning approximately from one haji including the subsidy, the government gets total Rs.76,000/- but where does this amount go ???

    Rs.26,000/- + Rs.50,000/- × 1,36,000 Haji’s = Rs.10,33,60,00,000/-.

    A whopping ONE THOUSAND THIRTY THREE CRORES AND SIXTY LACS.

    · Remember that as of now the Air India company is in loss of 2100 crores rupees.

    · Without a doubt this money goes to Air India and in the pockets of Indian politicians.
    And the Muslims of India are being embarrassed and humiliated in the name of HAJJ SUBSIDY.

  14. sarfraz khan on

    it’s true but our leaders either they don’t know or they are equally receiving the share. every muslim wants to go for haj but all are not rich. allah knows everything.

  15. Pk: ये लोग दिन में 15 घंटे भूखे प्यासे क्यों रहते है?
    बुख़ारी: नामुराद ये लोग रोज़ा रहते है।
    Pk: काहे?
    बुख़ारी: अल्लाह का हुकुम है..
    Pk: कवनो फिरकी ले रहा, अल्लाह क्यों चाहेगा की बच्चे इस गर्मी में भूखे प्यासे रहे…
    बुख़ारी: चुप कर नामुराद…..?
    Pk: एक बात और पूछनी थी?
    बुखारी: पूछ!!!?
    Pk: अल्लाह को अँधेरे में दिखाई नही देता क्या??
    बुख़ारी: क्यूँ??
    Pk: तभी तो सब सुबह होने से पहले खा लेते है और रात को सूरज ढलने के बाद खाते है….????
    जरूर कवनो फिरकी ले रहा है….
    ?सभी हिंदुभाईको निवेदन है। की इस पोस्ट को PK से जादा हिट करो??
    आमिर खान से कहो “रोजा” ना रखे।।
    कोनो उसकी फिरकी ले रहा है।।
    क्योंकि उनका अल्लाह उनसे क्यों कहेगा कि 15-15 घंटे भूखे प्यासे रहो…
    # ई_राँग_नम्बर_है ।
    —?????

  16. Secular Indian on

    What is wrong with our Muslim Brothers?
    Ek to Bhik Le rahe hain… Upar se Bhik Dene waale ko Gaali de rahe hain…

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  19. If that is the case, why private operators (most of them are Muslims), are charging much more than the Govt. Hajj Committee? Abusing Govt. of India is easy!

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  21. This pilgrim (whatever community) subsidy should stop when our country secular why need to spend money from governement (even 1 rufee) this is their own beleaves they have to spend money from their pocket then this calculation is not required at all

    For all this story we can remember who our country looted and converted us forcefully now we brothers(some are still same religion some old parents forcefully converted) fighting with the name of religion but all over DNA is same but different mentality (due to mathanthara) so stop this’ love our land(culture) look at our history we are happy now other wise we will become like Pakistan and Afghanistan and others

    Have a good life with peaceful thinking brothers/sisters

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  25. Whether you remove the monopoly or not, airline fairs are going to be the highest during the hajj season. You have an additional 1.7 lac passengers from India trying to be at a particular place in Saudi Arabia on a particular date, besides the normal air traffic along these routes. Unlike railways, airline fairs are dynamically determined based on both the demand and the type of trip – if they think bookings won’t go down, the fairs are sure to go through the roof. The thing is, you can’t even book it one year beforehand to get low fairs, they calculate the demand in advance. It’s called airline revenue management. You can only escape the hajj rates by booking a date that is a couple of weeks before the hajj date, and stay there, spending even more, given they allow you to. If the current rates during hajj are lower for other airlines, it’s because their demand is low since they can’t fly the hajis. This is what will happen if there’s no govt intervention.

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