Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Discretionary Haj Quota in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Haj Pilgrimage

Mains level: Promoting religious tourism


The Union Minister for Minority Affairs has done away with the discretionary Haj quota for pilgrims, in keeping with Prime Minister’s resolve to end VIP culture in the country.

About Haj Pilgrimage

  • The holy Haj is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest city for Muslims.
  • It is considered to be a mandatory religious duty for all adult Muslims physically and financially capable of doing so.
  • The rites of pilgrimage are performed over five to six days, in Dhu al-Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic calendar.

How is it managed?

  • For the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the pilgrimage poses a massive logistical challenge.
  • Housing, feeding and facilitating safe pilgrimages for millions of pilgrims who descend upon Mecca from across the world during a brief period of time is difficult, to say the least.
  • Thus, Saudi Arabia allots country-wise quotas which determine the total number of pilgrims who can make a journey from a particular country.
  • These quotas are broadly allotted on the basis of the number of Muslims a country houses. However, the quotas are also major diplomatic issues.
  • Every year, countries lobby Saudi Arabia for more slots. After a Covid-19-related lull, the pilgrimage will resume at its full scale in 2023.

How India manages this?

  • India signed the Haj 2023 bilateral agreement with Saudi Arabia.
  • According to the agreement, a total of 1,75,025 Indian Haj pilgrims will be able to perform Haj, reportedly the highest in history.
  • This quota allotted to India is then further distributed by the Ministry of Minority Affairs and the Haj Committee of India (HCoI) to various stakeholders.
  • According to the 2018-22 policy document, 70 per cent of India’s total quota goes to the HCoI and 30 per cent goes to private operators.

Distribution of Quotas

  • Out of the total number of slots with the HCoI, 500 are held under the Government discretionary quota whereas the rest are distributed to different states on the basis of their Muslim population.
  • A draw of lots is conducted in each state to determine who makes the journey in case the number of applicants exceed the number of slots available.

What are the haj discretionary quotas?

  • The “Government discretionary quota” is further divided in two, 200 seats are with the Haj Committee itself and 300 are with people holding important offices at the Centre. These include,
  1. 100 with the President
  2. 75 with the Prime Minister
  3. 75 with the Vice President
  4. 50 with the Minister of Minority Affairs
  • As per the old policy, these seats could be allocated to individuals who applied for the pilgrimage through normal means but were unsuccessful in getting a slot for the pilgrimage.
  • This quota has now been abolished with these seats being added back to the general pool.


Crack Prelims 2023! Talk to our Rankers

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and more

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch