Saudi Arabia hikes India’s annual Hajj quota by 34,500

In the biggest hike in nearly three decades, Saudi Arabia increased India’s annual Hajj quota by 34,500, a move welcomed by the NDA government as a “matter of pleasure”.

Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Saudi Arabia’s Hajj and Umrah Minister Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten inked an agreement in this regard in Jeddah on Wednesday, increasing the size of India’s Hajj quota from 1,36,020 to 1,70,520.

According to a statement issued by Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) Naqvi, it is the “biggest increase” in quota for Hajj pilgrims after 1988.

The latest increase in quota will be effective from the current year.

The Saudi authorities had five years ago slashed quotas for foreign pilgrims coming from each country by 20 per cent in view of safety of the devotees as they undertook expansion of Grand Mosque there.

(Agencies)

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