New Delhi: In a significant move, Saudi Arabia increased the Haj quota for India for the year 2023 where a total of 1,75,025 Indian Haj pilgrims will be able to perform Haj, reportedly the highest in history.
This announcement comes as part of a bilateral agreement signed between both countries in Jeddah.
Saudi Arabian Haj and Umrah deputy minister Dr Adelfattah bin Suleiam Mash and Indian Consul General Md. Shahid Alam signed the agreement at the former’s office in Jeddah.
The highest quota for India was in 2019 when 1.4 lakh pilgrims performed the holy pilgrimage. In the following year, the number was reduced to 1.25 lakh, however, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, Haj was cancelled that year.
In 2022, Saudi Arabia welcomed 79,237 Indian pilgrims for Haj.
During the Congress-led UPA rule, the highest quota was 1,26,018 in 2010.
Due to quota constraints, many optimistic Indians were left out of the draw system across the country, however, with the highest-ever quota, more Indian pilgrims can perform Haj this year and shrinking the waiting time and widening draw chances.
There was no mention of the cost, however, depreciating the Indian rupee against the US dollar in addition to various cost factors in holy cities, this year, costs are expected to go up.