NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday said that Haj 2021 will depend on the national and international protocol guidelines in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the government said it will soon start the preparations for the Haj and receive applications.
Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said this after chairing a virtual meeting attended by Haj Committee of India CEO Maqsood Ahmad, Secretary, Ministry of Minority Affairs P.K. Das, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs Vipul, Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia Ausaf Saeed and other officials. Many important decisions regarding Haj were taken in this meeting.
Naqvi said after the meeting that Haj 2021 will depend on national-international protocol guidelines in view of the pandemic. Haj 2021 is to take place in the month of July. But a final decision will be taken after a thorough review of the coronavirus spread and the health guidelines of Saudi Arabia and the Government of India, he said.
The Haj Committee of India and other Indian agencies will soon start preparations for Haj 2021 and start receiving applications. A formal announcement regarding the applications and other procedures will be made after the decision in respect of Haj 2021 by the Saudi Arabian government, the government said.
The Minister said due to the epidemic, the arrangements for the pilgrimage will see changes in a big way keeping in mind the guidelines. The health of the Haj pilgrims is the priority of the government, he added.
India and Saudi Arabia are in touch on this issue, he said.
According to information, Rs 2,100 crore of 1.23 lakh pilgrims, who were unable to go on Haj this year because of the pandemic, have been returned without any deduction.
The three-year pending amount of about Rs 514 crore of the Haj pilgrims has also been returned during this corona period.
The result of the 100 per cent digital system in India is that money was sent directly into the accounts even during the ongoing pandemic, which has happened for the first time in the history of the Haj pilgrimage. (IANS)