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As Govt Announces Withdrawal Of Haj Subsidy, People Ask If This Ends Air India Monopoly?

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| January 16 , 2018 , 20:23 IST

The Union Government on Tuesday announced the complete withdrawal of Haj subsidy. The Supreme Court had in 2012 directed the Union government to gradually reduce and abolish Haj subsidy in 10 years and invest the amount in education and other measures for social development of the minority community.

Justice Aftab Alam who wrote the judgement had said “The subsidy money may be more profitably used for uplift of the community in education and other indices of social development.”

Announcing the decision Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that 1.75 lakh pilgrims would go to Haj without a subsidy, a rise from the 1.25 lakh that went for the annual pilgrimage last year. This would be a first in independent India.

Naqvi said that by withdrawing subsidy, the government would save Rs 700 crores which would be used for education of minorities especially girls.

The decision has been hailed by people who have been demanding the withdrawal of subsidy alleging that Air India was the sole beneficiary of the subsidy. Congress leader PL Punia had raised the issue in Loksabha in 2012 asking the government to allow open tender from airlines for tickets meant for Haj pilgrimage.

Interestingly the decision comes just days after the cabinet approval for 49% foreign investment in Air India.

Also read: Cabinet Approves 100% FDI In Single Brand Retail, Foreign Airlines Can Invest Up To 49% In Air India

Naqvi also said that the Saudi Arabian government has in principle agreed to allow Haj journey from India by ships and officials of the two countries will sit together to finalise the modalities.

With the withdrawal of subsidy people are questioning if this ends the monopoly of Air India.