Mumbai: The process of online applications for Haj to be held in the year 2022 has started on Monday. Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi announced significant reforms and enhancement of facilities for the Haj pilgrimage to Mecca-Madina.
Announcing Haj 2022 at Haj House in South Mumbai, Naqvi said that the Haj process would be 100 percent online. A statement quoted the minister as saying that the last date to apply for Haj 2022 is 31 January 2022. People can also apply through Haj mobile app.
Naqvi said that Indian Haj pilgrims will promote ‘Vocal for Local’ and will go there with indigenous products. Haj pilgrims used to buy sheets, pillows, towels, umbrellas, and other items with foreign currency in Saudi Arabia, but this time most of these items will be bought in India in Indian currency. These goods will be available at about 50 percent less price than in Saudi Arabia. He said that two lakh Haj pilgrims from India go to Mecca-Medina every year and this arrangement will help in saving crores of rupees of Indian Haj pilgrims.
Naqvi said that the selection process of Haj pilgrims will be done as per the coronavirus protocol and norms to be decided by the Indian and Saudi Arabian governments. Naqvi said that for Haj 2022, the number of departure centers (from where Haj pilgrims will leave) has been reduced from 21 to 10. These centers are Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Kochi, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, and Srinagar.
He said more than 3,000 women had applied for Haj in 2020 and 2021 in the category without a mahram (husband or men who have blood relation) and their applications would be eligible for Haj 2022 as well. He said other women can also apply for Haj 2022 in the category without a mahram, under which they will be exempted from the lottery system.