MUMBAI: Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has announced that the central government is making arrangements to administer the coronavirus vaccines to those going from India for the Haj pilgrimage.

Naqvi made this announcement after chairing a meeting of the Haj Committee of India officials and Haj Group organisers at Haj House in south Mumbai. The last date for submission of application forms for Haj 2021 is January 10, the Minister said. 



Embarkation point-wise estimated cost per Haj pilgrim has been reduced, he added. Naqvi said around 50 per cent of the total applicants so far are women and over 700 women have so far applied under the ‘mehram’ (male companion) category.

Over 2100 women had applied for Haj 2020 under that category. These women will go to Haj 2021 as the application filled up by them for Haj 2020 is also valid for Haj 2021, a statement issued by his office said.

Keeping in view the pandemic situation and feedback from Air India and other agencies, embarkation points for Haj 2021 have been reduced to 10, Naqvi said. The 10 embarkation points are Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Srinagar.

Earlier, there were 21 Haj embarkation points across the country. Saudi authorities had announced in June that due to the pandemic, pilgrims from outside the kingdom would not be permitted to enter Saudi Arabia to perform Haj last year. This year the Haj will be in July.

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