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The Centre has chosen to discontinue discretionary spending. Quota for Haj: Irani, Smriti

Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Minority Affairs, stated on Wednesday that the Centre has eliminated the discretionary Haj quota for pilgrims, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pledge to remove “VIP culture” in the country.

“A decision has been made [to eliminate the discretionary quota in Haj]. On the first day of his term, Prime Minister Modi declared his intention to eradicate VIP culture. “A VIP culture was put in place with regard to Haj during the UPA period, with a special quota allotted to the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Haj Committee, and all those in the highest constitutional posts,” Irani said, criticising the Congress’ VIP culture.

Irani stated that the President, Vice-President, and herself as Minority Affairs Minister have all been dedicated to the move to the people, and that when the quota was implemented in 2012, 5,000 seats were allotted under it.

Irani went on to say that a new “exhaustive” Haj strategy was being developed to reflect the Prime Minister’s determination to meet the needs of the impoverished. She promised that it would be announced soon.

The Supreme Court described the VIP quota for Haj pilgrims as “bad religious practise” in response to a case filed by the Centre in 2011, which challenged an earlier Bombay High Court judgement directing the Centre to offer quota to 800 Haj pilgrims to private operators.

The Supreme Court cut the VIP quota for Haj pilgrimage from 2,500 to 240 in 2012. The President might nominate 70 pilgrims under the reduced limit, the Vice-President 60, the Prime Minister 60, and the External Affairs Minister 50 pilgrims. The remaining 2,260 pilgrims were transferred to the general Haj category.


Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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