Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge), said the panel will study different aspects related to the subsidy amid renewed demands from sections of the Muslim community that the subsidy must be put to an end.
Importantly, the Supreme Court, in a 2012 order, had asked the government to look for ways to gradually reducing and abolishing subsidy given to pilgrims by 2022.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event, Naqvi said the panel, inter alia, is expected to figure out if the pilgrims can travel to Saudi Arabia paying less or equally if there is no subsidy.
“Questions and issues about Haj subsidy have been raised from time to time…the committee is doing its work and will hold talks with various stakeholders and furnish its recommendations “soon”, he added.
“We have given a free hand to the committee to conduct its study. But the thing which needs to be looked into is whether the Hajis (pilgrims) can travel spending less or paying equal charges in the absence of subsidy,” he said.
Naqvi made the remarks on the sidelines of his meeting with representatives of the Anglo-Indian community.
Lauding the community for its contribution towards nation building, Naqvi said his ministry will work for their empowerment in a dedicated manner.
The community representatives, including MLAs from various states, hailed the meeting with the Union minister as “historic step”.
“I am happy that we had very fruitful and constructive discussions with representatives of Anglo-Indians from different parts of the country. The Ministry will work dedicatedly for their empowerment,” he added.