Haj Policy 2018-2022 to be unveiled on Saturday: Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

Mumbai: The government plans to announce the much-awaited new Haj Policy 2018-2022 on Saturday, Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said here on Friday.

The minister said a four-member committee headed by retired IAS officer Afzal Amanullah would submit its report to the government on the New Haj Policy 2018-2022 on Saturday.

The Haj from next year onwards would be organised in line with the new policy that aims to make the process smoother and more transparent.

According to informed sources, the new Haj Policy is likely to recommend reviving the sea voyage from Mumbai and other locations to Jeddah for the pilgrims which would be highly economical.

Taking a review, Naqvi said this year, pilgrims departed by 454 flights operating between July 24 and August 28, with 1,24,940 going through the Haj Committee of India and the rest, around 45,000, through private operators this year.

In all, around 170,000 pilgrims from India performed Haj this year.

“Ensuring safety and world-class facilities for the pilgrims was our priority. We completed all our preparations keeping in mind…a smoother Haj pilgrimage,” Naqvi said after chairing a post-Haj review committee meeting here.

This year, the Saudi Arabia government had increased the Indian Haj quota significantly to 170,025, enabling more people to perform Haj, he added.

The pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia from 21 embarkation points at New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Indore, Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Goa, Srinagar, Guwahati, Lucknow, Varanasi, Gaya, Bengaluru, Mangalore, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Ranchi and Bhopal.

The largest batch of pilgrims — 16,627 — boarded flights from New Delhi, followed by Lucknow (12,314), Kochi (11,805), Ahmedabad (11,073) and Kolkata (10,263), he said.

Naqvi lauded the Air India and other agencies for their support, cooperation and coordination in ensuring a smooth and hassle-free Haj this year and appreciated the Saudi Arabian government for its key role in the same.