New Delhi: In order to make the Haj quota
allocation process for private tour operators transparent and
fair, government has changed rules under which even operators
without any experience would be eligible.
The External Affairs Ministry has decided to allocate the
Haj quota among private tour operators (PTOs) in accordance
with the principles of openness, transparency, equity and
providing equal opportunity to those PTOs which are "eligible
and fulfill the prescribed criterion for being a duly
registered as tour operator".
This decision was taken at a meeting chaired by External
Affairs Minister S M Krisha here last week in compliance with
the various court cases of 2008 and 2009.
As per the 2009 Haj agreement with Saudi Arabia, Indian
Haj pilgrims quota stands at 160,491, out of which 1,15,000
pilgrims are to be sent through the Haj Committee and the
remaining 45,491 through PTOs.
Until 2008, Haj quota was distributed among PTOs on the
basis of their qualifications and experience. Because of this,
no new PTO could qualify for Haj quota owing to their lack of
experience and several of them approached the courts.
Since 2008, various court decisions have underlined the
need for equitable and fair allocation of Haj quota among all
the eligible PTOs including newer applicants.
The meeting held by Krishna decided that if any of the
applications of PTOs was not accepted, the objective reasons
behind the decision would be clearly spelt out in a
transparent manner, a statement by the MEA said.