Haj Subsidies: Thankless Help?
Recent news says Muslim bodies are supporting the UPA Govt’s plans (however genuine) to cut the annual Rs 900 Crores Haj Subsidy. And they have come up with some very interesting theories and reasons.
Muslim leaders back cutting Haj subsidy
The UPA government’s plan to gradually stop financing the Haj pilgrimage is a step in the right direction, several Muslim leaders have said.
Their backing is crucial for a clean pullout, without rubbing the community the wrong way.
From the Muslim Personal Law Board and Jamiat Ulama-e-Hind to the Milli Council, influential Muslim lobbies on Saturday said it was time the government pulled out of the Haj business. “The subsidy has been inconsequential,“ Rajya Sabha MP and Jamiat leader, Mahmood Madni told Hindustan Times.
About 1,50,000 Indian Muslims flock to
Madni said the subsidy actually went in bailing out Air-India, while exposing Muslims to charges of appeasement. So, Muslim leaders want global tenders for airlines so that the lowest bidder gets the job.
A decades-old bilateral treaty between
A major gripe is that Air- India’s fares are sharply higher than routine fares. Each year, the Cabinet decides how much the Haj Committee, the facilitating agency, should charge as airfare. Last year, passengers were charged Rs 12,000 each.
Going by last year’s subsidy of about Rs 826 crore, the Air India fare must have been between Rs 80,000-90,000 per passenger, according to Haj Committee CEO Mohd. Owais.
The current round trip economy fare to Jeddah at present is about Rs 18,000, a Saudi air- line official said.
The state carrier charges higher fares on the ground that it has to pull out planes from regular operations for dedicated Haj travel.
“The Haj Committee should be given three-years’ subsidy at one time as seed capital and the subsidy stopped after that, “Manzoor Alam, Muslim Personal Law Board member and Milli Council chief, said.
Ref http://bit.ly/bH0xCq (Hindustan Times)
I think this is a new propaganda that Muslim leaders are coming out with. They want it both ways - one, to receive the (unfair) benefits and two, no acknowledgement (and hence no gratitude/accusations) of having received the benefits. So GOI has been turned into a thankless entity, forgetting that without govt’s support not many of the poor Muslims would ever have gone to do Haj-pilgrimage.
If Muslim leaders want GOI to release global tenders for airlines, they are still asking for GOI’s help, which is in conflict with their so called support to subsidy-pull-out.
And the question arises as to why should govt of
If GOI doesn’t manage the Haj trips and gives the right to Haj committee or to any other Muslim body along with Rs 2700 Crores pay cheque, it would be giving too much of power in too few hands with two few checks and balances. Such Muslim groups and hence their leaders and chairpersons would create very powerful places for themselves. We would never know how exactly they would spend the money: they can always show crores of rupees spent to build their offices, (or homes), or ghetto Madrasas or to buy stationary or to build toilets.
The best way is to leave the Muslims to manage their own Haj trips. Let them save enough to go to
On the other hand, countries like UAE and Saudi have been earning lots of money from Haj tourism. Also, they keep enjoying some blind reverence from people of foreign nations like
I think GOI should apologise to our secular constitution for the years it has been paying Muslims their Haj subsidies, and immediately get out of the scheme. It should not become yet another victim of Muslim Mullahs by getting into debates about Air
And yes, we should also push for UCC - uniform civil code and strive towards