Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Indian Muslims discuss reforms to Haj pilgrimage management after SC judgment to abolish Haj subsidy

20 Jun 12 1702hrs ISTFull site

Indian Muslims discuss reforms to Haj pilgrimage management after SC judgment to abolish Haj subsidy

Jun 19, 2012, 08.07PM IST TNN[ Manash Pratim Gohain ]
NEW DELHI: Forum for Haj Pilgrimage Management in India (FHMI) organized a one day Conference that deliberated on the issues and concerns related to Haj Pilgrimage Management and suggested options for a subsidy-free Haj Management in India on Tuesday. The primary objective of conference organized by FHMI under the chairmanship of Member of Parliament K Rahman Khan (former deputy chairman, Rajya Sabha) was to understand the functioning of Tabung Haji, a successful Haj Pilgrim Management Institution of Malaysia, and to create a consensus among the Indian Muslims on the possibility to establish an institution in India on the lines of Tabung Haji. Such a fund will not only help better Haj Pilgrimage Management but also work towards inclusion and social betterment of the Muslim community in India.

The Conference focused on the need to devise a sustainable institutional mechanism to minimize the impact of gradual withdrawal of Haj subsidy on the majority of poor Indian Haj Pilgrims, in the event of the recent judgement of the Supreme Court to phase out subsidy in the next 10 years.

Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali, president, Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and senior officials from Tabung Haji, Malaysia, participated in the conference and made their presentations on Haj Management. Tabung Haji, a unique Haj Management and financial institution established in the year 1960, having a meagre capital of USD 15,400 with the aim of mobilizing savings of individuals and prospective Hajis and successfully managing an investment fund on Shariah principles in order to fulfill the life-long desire of the individuals to undertake Haj Pilgrimage. The depositors are able to save their money under Shariah principles and able to obtain Halalreturns which can be used either to perform Haj or for any other purpose. Today, Tabung Haji, is considered as the best Haj Management organization in the world having seven subsidiaries and fund base of over USD 11 billion.

Khan said: "India being the second largest Muslim populated country in the world and with more than 180,000 pilgrims from India performing Haj every year, there is need for a reform in the entire Haj Pilgrim Management for a long sustainable Institutional system. Under the circumstances, the example of Tabung Haji, as practiced in Malaysia, seems to be the most viable answer to the problems of Indian Hajis ."

"Through a unique financial institution, our aim would be to mobilize savings of millions of prospective Hajis and successfully manage their funds under Shariah Principles to fulfill their life-long desire to perform Haj. Since, these savings will create a huge corpus, the Institution will not only assist Indian Muslims for Haj Pilgrimage at an affordable cost but also bring it into the mainstream economy which will further help in the development of the community and the country," added Khan.

The chief guest, Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali appreciated FHMI's initiatives under the leadership of Khan in this area and said that they would like to extend all help to create such an institution. He also pointed out that a sustainable financial management system is the only way to face the possibility of discontinuation of Haj Subsidy. In fact, through this channel even a poor Indian Muslim can fulfill his/ her lifelong dream of undertaking the Holy Haj Pilgrimage.

Like the Islamic Development Bank, Tabung Haji, the original creators for the model in Malaysia, also assured to share their experience if a Tabung Haji like institution comes into existence in India.

Dr Aziz Qureshi, Governor of Uttarakhand, Salman Khurshid, Minister of Law and Justice and Minority Affairs, E Ahamed, Minister of State for External Affairs, several other Union Ministers, Members of Parliaments, Senior officials from the Ministry of Finance, RBI, eminent Ulema from various parts of the country, prominent community leaders, intellectuals and scholars were present on the occasion.
(Courtesy: Email received from Abdur Raqeeb <>)

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