A decision on Haj 2021 will be taken after the Saudi Arabian government’s final call on the pilgrimage, and the national as well as international COVID-19 guidelines will have to be kept in mind to ensure the well-being of the pilgrims, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said on Monday.
While chairing a Haj review meeting here, Naqvi said Haj 2021 is scheduled for June-July and the Haj Committee of India as well as other Indian agencies will formally announce the application process and other related preparations for the pilgrimage after a decision is taken by the Saudi Arabian government.
He said the final decision regarding Haj 2021 will be taken in due course, keeping in view the necessary guidelines to be issued by the governments of Saudi Arabia and India in view of the coronavirus pandemic to ensure the health and well-being of people.
The entire Haj process might witness a significant change in view of the guidelines, including those related to the accommodation, transport, health and other facilities both in India and Saudi Arabia, Naqvi said.
He said the health and well-being of the pilgrims is of utmost priority for the government in the wake of the pandemic.
The Indian agencies will ensure the necessary arrangements in this regard and the government as well as the Haj committee have started the preparations to ensure a good health and well-being of the pilgrims, the minister said.
Due to a 100-per cent digitisation of the Haj process in India, Rs 2,100 crore have been returned through the direct bank transfer (DBT) mode, without any deduction, to 1,23,000 people after the cancellation of Haj 2020 due to the pandemic, Naqvi said.
The Saudi Arabian government has also returned about Rs 100 crore for transportation, he added.