Subsidising Religion

In his article ‘Stop subsidizing religion’ (The Times of India,Dec. 14) Zaheer Ali’s use of the term ‘subsidy’ for concessional Hajj fare is misnomer.  Indeed, it is an accepted practice to offer concessions on chartered flights.

Written by

Published on

In his article ‘Stop subsidizing religion’ (The Times of India,Dec. 14) Zaheer Ali’s use of the term ‘subsidy’ for concessional Hajj fare is misnomer.  Indeed, it is an accepted practice to offer concessions on chartered flights.  Secondly, if bulk tickets (around one lakh passengers) are booked six months in advance, the apex fare will be much lower than the actual fares. Thirdly, since a majority of the Hajj pilgrims are senior citizens, they are automatically entitled for 25 per cent discount on air fare.  Besides, the interest earned on the advance deposits made by pilgrims is extra earning.
Hence there is no justification in calling the concessions ‘subsidy’ or a case of ‘appeasement’.  Let there be an open international tender for Hajj pilgrims.  The Hajj fare will surely be much cheaper than what is today. Why should there be a monopoly of Air India?
Naushad Ansari
New Delhi