Steep decline in Haj applications against quota - Hindustan Times
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Steep decline in Haj applications against quota

Jan 31, 2024 08:16 AM IST

By the original deadline of December 20 last year, only 6,737 applications were received, prompting an extension of the deadline to January 15.

KANPUR: In recent years, there has been a steady decline in the number of people applying for Haj, according to the data from the state Haj committee. This year, even Uttar Pradesh couldn’t fill its allocated quota despite extending the application deadline by a month, which contrasts with the previous system of selecting pilgrims through a lottery.

This year, the Haj process is underway, with the first installment set at <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>81,500 and the second installment at <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>1.70 lakhF (File)
This year, the Haj process is underway, with the first installment set at 81,500 and the second installment at 1.70 lakhF (File)

By January 15, only 19,702 people had applied for Haj, compared to 26,786 last year, while UP’s quota is 30,000 devotees.

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By the original deadline of December 20 last year, only 6,737 applications were received, prompting an extension of the deadline to January 15.

Two main reasons are being cited for this decline: firstly, Haj has become relatively more expensive, and secondly, there have been changes in the rules post-COVID-19. Nasir Khan, a Haj trainer, said, “The continuous increase in the cost of Haj and the new conditions imposed after the pandemic are major reasons behind this decline. Last year, one person’s Haj costed 4.24 lakh, excluding the cost of sacrifice.”

Haj is a significant pillar in Islam, and performing this pilgrimage is obligatory for adherents of Islam. In India, the Haj quota is for 1,75,000 people, with 1,25,000 going through the Haj Committee of India and 50,000 through private tours and travels.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the cost of Haj was 2.36 lakh, which increased to 4.12 lakh in 2022 and 4.24 lakh in 2023. This year, the Haj process is underway, with the first installment set at 81,500 and the second installment at 1.70 lakh. “The application process has ended, and now the further work is underway,” said Haj coordinator Osama Aziz Khan.

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