Financial aid for Christians, Muslims pilgrims enhanced
The Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday enhanced the financial assistance to each of the Christians and Muslims undertaking pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Haj respectively. Minorities Welfare Department Principal Secretary Mohd Ilyas Rizvi issued two separate orders in this regard.
He said pilgrims with an annual income of upto Rs 3 lakh would be given a financial assistance of Rs 60,000 for the pilgrimage to Jerusalem and other Biblical places like Bethlehem, Nazareth, Jordan River, Dead Sea and Sea of Galilee. Those with an income of over Rs 3 lakh would get Rs 30,000, up from Rs 20,000.
The financial assistance for Christian pilgrims was last enhanced to Rs 40,000 in December 2016 by the then Chandrababu Naidu government. The scheme was introduced in 2013, in the then united Andhra Pradesh, with an assistance of Rs 20,000 for pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
Similarly, pilgrims undertaking Haj yatra would also be provided financial assistance of the same lines, according to the Principal Secretarys order. For Muslims, the financial assistance is for covering Haj expenses other than travel expenditure, the order said.
The state government is enhancing financial assistance now only to those pilgrims who cannot fully afford the expenditure. In addition, the AP Haj Committee is arranging accommodation and food to Haj pilgrims free of cost at the Haj Camp 48 hours prior to departure, it added..
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