New Delhi [India], October 22 (ANI): Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the selection process of Haj pilgrims will be done according to complete vaccination with both the doses and guidelines and the criteria for the same shall be decided by the Indian and Saudi Arabia Governments, keeping in view Corona protocols during the time of Haj 2022, said Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Friday.
Chairing Haj review meeting in New Delhi on Friday, Naqvi said that Digital Health Card, "E-MASIHA" health facility and "E-luggage pre-tagging", providing all information regarding accommodation/transportation in Makkah-Madinah, will be provided to all the Haj pilgrims.
The union minister said that preparations for Haj 2022 have been started keeping in mind the health and COVID protocol of the Saudi Arabia Government and Government of India.
The official announcement of Haj 2022 will be made in the first week of November and along with that, the process of online application for Haj will also be started. The entire Haj 2022 process in India will be 100 per cent digital. India sends the second largest number of Haj pilgrims after Indonesia.
The Minister said that arrangements for special training for Haj 2022 regarding COVID protocols and health and hygiene are being made in India and Saudi Arabia for the Haj pilgrims. National-International protocol guidelines due to the pandemic position will be implemented and followed strictly during Haj 2022.
Haj 2022 process is being chalked out after deliberations among the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Haj Committee of India, Indian Embassy in Saudi Arabia and India's Consul General in Jeddah and other agencies keeping in view all aspects of the pandemic challenges.
The arrangements for Haj 2022 are being made under special circumstances with special norms, rules and regulations, eligibility criteria, age restrictions, health and fitness requirements and other relevant conditions of the Saudi Arabia Government amid the COVID pandemic.
The Minority Affairs Minister said that the entire travel process for Haj 2022 is being done with significant and important changes in view of the pandemic and its effect. These include accommodation, period of stay of pilgrims, transportation, health and other facilities both in India and Saudi Arabia.
Naqvi said that more than 3,000 women had applied for Haj 2020 and 2021 under without "Mehram" (male companion) category. Their applications will be eligible for Haj 2022 also if they want to go to perform Haj 2022. Other women can also apply for Haj 2022 under without "Mehram" category. All the women under without "Mehram" category will be exempted from the lottery system. (ANI)