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Panel recommends higher quota for pvt operators, fewer embarkation points
A committee, appointed by Ministry of Minority Affairs (MoMA) to suggest a framework for the new Haj policy for 2018-22, has among other things recommended rationalisation of distribution of Haj quota the Haj Committee of India (HCOI), and registered Private Tour Operators (PTOs) in the ratio of 70:30 for the next five years.
Established under the Haj Committee Act 2002 HCOI is responsible for making the arrangements for pilgrims performing Haj through them. All arrangements for the HCoI pilgrims in Saudi Arabia are coordinated by the Consulate General of India, Jeddah. The Haj quota for 2017 was 1,70,025 — 1,25,025 for HCOI and 45,000 for PTOs.
The Committee, which submitted its Union Minister of Minority Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Mumbai on Saturday, recommended that seats among the States and Union Territories be distributed in the ratio of their Muslim population as well as in proportion to the number of applications received.
In other recommendations, the committee called for increase in special quota for Jammu & Kashmir to be increased from 1500 to 2000 and abolition of reserved category of applicants like pilgrims aged above 70 years and fourth timers in terms of pilgrimage.
The committee said that the states/ UTs receiving less than 500 applications to be given priority in distribution of surplus seats. This will benefit UTs like Andaman & Nicobar Island, Lakshadweep, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu & Puducherry as well as smaller States like Chhattisgarh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh and Manipur.
The committee also called for reduction in Embarkation Points (EPs) from 21 to 9 which are (1) Delhi (2) Lucknow (3) Kolkata (4) Ahmedabad (5) Mumbai (6) Chennai (7) Hyderabad (8) Bengaluru and (9) Cochin and construction of suitable Haj houses in these EPs. It also rooted for consultations with the Saudi Government to be consulted regarding Haj travel by ship and thereafter floating an EOI to gauge the market for such travel.
In the case of PTOs, the committee called for development of a robust portal gor processing of PTO applications, setting up of an experts’ committee to consider representations of PTOs aggrieved by Haj Division’s decisions, categorisation of PTOs in three categories in accordance with their experience and financial strength and formulation of a comprehensive empanelment policy for the PTOs to facilitate easier and quicker renewals.
The Committee, which also reviewed the existing Haj Policy of the Government for 2013-17, called for an amendment in Haj committee act to include Umra and Ziyarat to Syria, Iran, Iraq and Jordan, removal of obsolete provisions, inclusion of official of MoMA in the HCOI.
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Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will reach Washington DC on October 22. He has been invited by Pt Deendayal Upadhyay Forum, where he will address as a key speaker in the programme organised by the forum...