Under the scheme, the pilgrims will be provided with a card by the State Bank of India (SBI) for the use of foreign currency.
India government said it has decided to lay emphasis on ‘Cashless Hajj’ this year. In pursuant to this policy, the Haj pilgrims will be provided with a card by the State Bank of India (SBI) for the use of foreign currency. Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Minority Affairs gave this information on Monday.
Under the earlier system, Haj pilgrims had to deposit 2,100 Saudi Riyals (about Rs 45 thousand) with the Haj Committee of India, which used to be made available to them for spending in Mecca and Medina of Saudi Arabia.
It may be mentioned here that Mecca in Saudi Arabia is considered the holiest place in Islam and all Muslims aspire to make a pilgrimage to the holy sites in a lifetime. Hence, every year, millions of Muslims visit Saudi Arabia to fulfil their religious obligation.
The facility aims to make Hajj 2023 cashless, and at the same time, pilgrims going to Saudi Arabia will be able to spend up to $10,000 and recharge their cards instead of 2100 Riyals, which is about $500. more money can also be done.
The Ministry of Minority Affairs has partnered with the State Bank of India (SBI) to make special arrangements to provide foreign exchange facilities to pilgrims. Unlike previous years, when every pilgrim was given 2100 Riyals by the Haj Committee of India, irrespective of his actual needs. Haj Policy 2023 now gives pilgrims the option and flexibility to arrange their own foreign exchange or take less foreign exchange. The Government has collaborated with SBI to ensure supply of foreign exchange to pilgrims at the most competitive rates.
Provision of compulsory insurance
State Bank of India (SBI) with more than 22,000 branches across India will facilitate foreign exchange (FOREX) and compulsory insurance to meet the needs of all pilgrims during their stay in Saudi Arabia. Bank will reach pilgrims through SMS regarding this. Foreign currency (FOREX) card facility is also being provided to all pilgrims, thereby eliminating the chances of theft or loss of cash (physical) currency. Even if this card is lost during the journey, the pilgrim can get his money back from the bank.
Stalls have also been set up at all departure points.
Also SBI will provide stalls at all departure points with dedicated Focal Points/Nodal Officers of appropriate level to enable pilgrims to receive foreign exchange through cash or forex card and provide necessary guidance and assistance. A helpline will be operated by SBI and the contact details of these nodal officers will be announced soon. For Haj 2023, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has taken several initiatives to make Haj pilgrimage more comfortable, convenient and affordable for Indian pilgrims.
14,935 Haj applicants assured of allocation
Dedicated efforts have also been made to make the selection process of pilgrims objective, transparent, efficient, time bound and without human involvement. Hajj application and selection of pilgrims was done online. Out of a total of 1.84 lakh applications received, 14,935 Haj applicants have been confirmed allotments (including 10,621 women in the 70+ age group and 4,314 women without a Mahram (male guardian). This is the largest ever number of women going on Haj alone without male guardians or healers. is a group.
Selection and waiting list information is provided through SMS
Applications received in excess of Haj quota are finalized through Online Randomized Digital Selection (ORDS) process without any manual intervention. This is for the first time, the list of selected and waitlisted applicants has been published on the official portal for the general public immediately after the selection process in the interest of increased transparency. SMS has been sent to all 1.4 lakh Haj pilgrims selected for Haj 2023. An SMS has also been sent to the pilgrims in the waiting list to inform them about their waiting list status and their position in the waiting list.
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