13th January, 2023 POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
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- The Union Minister for Minority Affairs stated that the Union Government has decided to stop the Haj quota for pilgrims, in line with Prime Minister’s vision to end VIP culture in the country.
- The minister also announced that a new Haj policy will be formulated and announced soon.
- The Haj is an Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the most sacred place for Muslims.
- Haj is supposed to be a mandatory religious duty for all adult Muslims physically and financially capable of doing so.
- During the haj, Saudi Arabia faces several challenges; providing housing, feeding and facilitating safe pilgrimages for millions of pilgrims, therefore Saudi Arabia has fixed country-wise quotas to fix the total number of pilgrims from a particular country.
- The quotas are largely allotted based on the number of the Muslim population in a country.
- The quotas are also a major diplomatic issue. Every year, countries lobby Saudi Arabia for more slots.
- Recently India signed the Haj 2023 bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia.
- According to the agreement, a total of 1, 75,025 Indian Haj pilgrims will be able to visit Saudi Arabia to perform Haj.