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Thursday
February 2019
3:56 PM IST
News Headlines
Saudi Arabia increases India''s Haj quota to 2 lakh after Modi-Salman talks        SC collegium transfers high court judges        Security of 18 separatists, 155 political leaders withdrawn        Crown Prince orders release of 850 Indian prisoners from Saudi jails        Putin says Russia to take measures if US deploys missiles        Jadhav''s death sentence based on ''extracted confession'', should be annulled: India tells ICJ        Israel strikes on Gaza arson balloons launchers, no injuries reported        Taylor surpasses Fleming becomes highest ODI scorer for NZ        ICC keeping a close watch on India-Pakistan situation ahead of WC        Vivo unveils V15Pro with Industry-first 32 MP pop-up selfie camera        Tripura gets Rs 85 crore Mega Food Park        India, Saudi Arabia ink MoUs for cooperation in tourism, broadcasting        Bernie Sanders enters 2020 US presidential race : Reports        Sixteen states sue Trump over border wall emergency        Djokovic wins his fourth Laureus World Sportsman of the Year        Pakistan shooters not taking part in New Delhi World Cup        Pulwama attack masterminded by Jaish, ISI: corps commander        Cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad joins Congress, calls it ''ghar wapsi''        Salve exposes Pak military courts at ICJ, says judges don''t even need law degree        RBI pays Rs 28,000 cr interim dividend to govt ahead of elections        
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National News
Saudi Arabia increases India''s Haj quota to 2 lakh after Modi-Salman talks
 
New Delhi: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday increased India''s Haj quota by about 25,000, the third hike in three years, taking the number of pilgrims from the country who can perform Haj to 2 lakh. The decision was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks with visiting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman here.

While T S Tirumurti, Secretary (Economic Relations) in the MEA, said the implementation of the enhanced quota will depend on logistical and other things, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said it will be effective from this year. "At our request, Saudi Arabia has decided to increase the quota for Haj pilgrims from India to 2 lakh. This gesture is deeply appreciated," Tirumurti told reporters at a briefing on the talks. Naqvi hailed the decision and thanked the prime minister, Saudi Arabia''s King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the crown prince and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. "This is the third hike in consecutive years.

When the Modi government came to power in 2014, India''s Haj quota was 1,36,000, which has now been increased to 2 lakh. This will be the highest number of pilgrims going for Haj from India since independence," Naqvi told PTI. He said this was possible because of Modi''s "very cordial and friendly" relations with the Saudi leadership. This year, 2,340 Muslim women from India will go for Haj without ''Mehram'' or male companion. Also India will be sending the second highest number of pilgrims for Haj after Indonesia, he said.

The government had last year allowed women to go on Haj without Mehram, which saw about 1,300 women going without any male companion. They had been exempted from the lottery system. Last year, Saudi Arabia had increased India''s Haj quota by 5,000 to 1,75,025, while in 2017 it was increased by about 35,000. The Haj subsidy provided by the government was removed last year in the light of a Supreme Court order of 2012. Naqvi had earlier said that digitising Haj-related processes has ensured that the annual pilgrimage remained inexpensive despite the absence of subsidy and made the system "pro-pilgrim".


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