Mumbai: Contrary to the general perception that the governments in India are to appease Muslims spend huge amounts for the Haj pilgrims every year, the Haj Committee of India said it managed the expenses of its central office and State/UT Haj Committees using the money collected from pilgrims and Haj aspirants.
India has been allocated based on population of Muslims in the country a Haj quota of around 1.70 lakh by Saudi Government. Out of them 1,23,700 pilgrims this year will go through the Haj Committee of India, rest all opt for Private Tour Operators (PTOs) to travel to Makkah and perform Haj.
According to the details provided by the Haj Committee of India, it received a total of 4,48,268 applications from 31 states and union territories of India. This is an excess of 3,24,568 than the country quota.
To manage processing expenses the Haj Committee of India charge a sum of Rs 300/- from every applicant on account of "Application Processing Fees". In addition to this the Haj Committee of India also charge a sum of Rs 1000/- from 1,23,700 pilgrims finalised after the draw or qurrah.
It means that the Haj Committee of India collected a total of 134,480,400 rupees on account of processing fees. Adding to this 123,700,000 rupees the haj Committee collects as additional charge from each pilgrim the total collection of Haj Committee of India this year goes to a whopping 258,180,400 rupees.
And if the Haj Committee of India CEO Ataur Rahman is to be believed it is this amount which is used to manage its Central office as well as the expenses of State and Union Territory Haj Committees.
"A sum of 9.25 crore rupees i.e. 2/3rd of the total 134,480,400 rupees collected on account of processing fees will be given to State/UT Haj Committees. They will use this money for managing their offices including staff salary, data entry and other expenses", CEO Ataur Rahman said.
"The remaining 4.5 crore rupees will be used by Central Haj Committee of India to print Haj Application Form, guide, passport cover, building expenses and staff salary", he added.
How the additional Rs 1000/- collected from each confirmed Haji is utilised, the CEO said, "Out of Rs 1000/- collected from each pilgrim, Rs 600/- per haji is given to State/UT Haj Committees. This includes Rs 200/- per haji for the facilitation centres at different airports, Rs 150/- as handling charge, Rs 100/- for the compulsory Haj training and Rs 150/- for construction of Haj Houses in various states."
"The remaining Rs 400/- is used by the Central Haj Committee of India to manage other expenses to run its office the entire year", he said.
The other account is Haj Subsidy for which the Indian government is accused of appeasing Muslims. Various studies and analysis on the subject however have concluded that the benefits of the concession given to pilgrims on air travel actually goes to Air India, and it is believed that Haj subsidy will not be required if bidding for air travel is thrown open.
This is why Muslims themselves demand from the government that it should open bids to all international airlines for Haj transportation so as to bring down the cost of the pilgrimage and do away with the Haj subsidy.