Around 1.36 lakh pilgrims have been travelling to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage from India since 2013.
As part of its efforts to bring in transparency in processing applications from interested devotees, the government has decided to encourage applications online January 2, 2017 onwards.
Besides, the ministry is also mulling launching a cell phone application to help devotees apply online for the pilgrimage.
The ministry has a budget outlay of Rs 3,827 crore for the ongoing fiscal. Out of these, Rs 2,732 crore have already been spent on various works, sources said.
These include Rs 1,800 sanctioned for distributing scholarships to students. The scholarships are being distributed through Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in phases.
Besides, the government spent Rs 502 crore on multi-sectoral development programme, while the National Minority Development Finance Corporation (NMDFC) has been given equity of Rs 140 crore.
Among other developments, the ministry released Rs 79.91 crore under Maulana Azad National Fellowship, Rs 4 crore as assistance to students willing to learn abroad under ‘Padho Pardesh’ scheme and Rs 13.19 crore out of Rs 15 crore allotted for ‘Nai Roshni’ scheme meant for leadership development among minority women.