Ministry of Minority Affairs Current Affairs

Government ends Haj subsidy

The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs has decided to end Haj subsidy from this year as a part of its policy to empower minorities with dignity and without appeasement.

This decision was taken based on the recommendations of Afzal Amanullah Committee and May 2012 Supreme Court order.

Key Facts

The Hajj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city for Muslims. It is mandatory religious duty for Muslims that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey and can support their family during their absence.

The number of Hajj pilgrims from India is largest among all countries around of world. Government’s Haj subsidy mainly included cheaper airfare and central assistance to pilgrims to reach specially-designed Haj departure terminals at airports. It also included food and medical care. Now onwards, proceeds from Haj subsidy will be used for educational empowerment and welfare of girls from minority communities.

Background

The Supreme Court in May 2012 had directed that Haj subsidy should be done away gradually by 2022.  The order of court reiterated Holy Quran verses (Verse 97 in Surah 3, Al-e-Imran mandates that Hajj should be taken up only if a Muslim can afford it) and said that amount spent should be used in education and other measures for social development of the minority community.

In accordance with the order, Union Government had constituted committee headed by former secretary Afzal Amanullah to suggest framework for new Haj policy for 2018-22. It had submitted its report in October 2017. The committee had recommended for gradual withdrawal of Haj subsidy. It also had recommended to allow older Muslim women to travel to haj without male guardians.

Haj withot Mehram

Earlier, Union Government had allowed Muslim women above age of 45 to go on Haj without male company, in a group of at least four. Earlier, women were not allowed to travel without ‘Mehram’ (husband or a male first blood relation as guardian).

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Hunar Haat inaugurated in IITF 2017

The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs had organised Hunar Haat at India International Trade Fair (IITF) at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. It displayed exquisite pieces of handicraft and handloom prepared by master artisans from across the country.

Hunar Haat

The Union Ministry of Minority Affairs is organising Hunar Haat under Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD) scheme at different parts of country. It has become successful mission to provide employment and employment opportunities and national as well international markets for thousands of master artisans, craftsmen and culinary experts. It has provided platform to master artisans and craftsmen to display their rich heritage and skills. It is also providing domestic and international markets to these artisans and craftsmen.

USTTAD scheme

USTTAD scheme of Ministry of Minority Affairs aims at preserving and promoting the rich heritage of traditional arts & crafts of the Minority communities. In light of globalisation & competitive market, these crafts have gradually lost their employability. It also envisages at boosting skill of craftsmen, weavers and artisans who are already engaged in traditional ancestral work.

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