Mumbai: The Haj Committee of India, the apex body responsible for Hajj operations in India, has stopped receiving Haj Application Forms (HAF) for Haj 2017 as the last date of application lapsed today i.e. Monday February 06, 2017 afternoon.
The Qurrah i.e. draw for pilgrim selection will be held by respective Stat Haj Committees from March 14 to 21, 2017. The final dates of each state will be announced soon.
According to the officials, the Haj Committee of India has received more than 3.6 lakh applications - majority of them through online. Out f them only about 1,30,000 will be shortlisted to perform Haj in 2017.
India's total Haj quota is about 1,70,000. While about 1,30,000 pilgrims go through the Haj Committee of India, the remaining go to Haj through Private Tour Operatorts (PTOs).
Since the application received is about three times more than the actual quota. every year pilgrim selection is done by Qurrah i.e. draw. The practice was earlier held manually. Since last 03 years however computerised draw is held to draft the final list.
The online and offline application process for Haj 2017 began on January 02, 2017. The last date fixed earlier was January 24, 2017. Following the demand by various Stat Haj Committees, the Haj Committee of India however extended the date till February 06.
"In view of the representations received from several State Haj Committees, the last date of submission of Haj Application Forms - both online and manual, is hereby extended by about two week's time i.e. up to February 06, 2017", the Haj Committee of India official said on Tuesday.
As hundreds of thousands of Muslims wish to perform Haj every year, the Saudi government in order to limit the crowd during the annual ritual has allotted quotas based on the population of Muslims in different countries. It had in 2012 decided a 20% cut in each country's quota due to the expansion work of the Makkah Haram Mosque.
However, the government in the last month lifted the cut and restored the previously allotted quotas of all countries. This resulted in an increase of about 40,000 Haj pilgrims for India from this year.
The previously allotted quota for India was about 1,70,000 which went down to 1,34,000 because of 20% quota cut. India in turn allots quota for different states based on the population of Muslims.
Maharshtra which till last year had a quota of about 07,500 will now be able to send about 10,000 pilgrims. But, the Haj Committee of India receives more than 03 times applications than the allotted quota. It is hence the Haj Committee of India holds draw every year and shortlist Haj pilgrims.
The government of India earlier launched a new trilingual website to provide all information related to Haj and also accept online application forms for the pilgrimage. The information in the website -- www.haj.gov.in -- can be accessed in Urdu, Hindi and English languages.
According to Ministry of Minority Affairs, the website will facilitate online application for Haj apart from giving information about the Ministry of Minority Affairs, Haj Department, rules and regulations of Haj, the Haj Committee of India and private tour operators.
The website also lists the Dos and Don'ts during the Haj and features a short film informing about various aspects of the pilgrimage, he added.
Meanwhile, those who have filled their Haj Application Forms (HAF) can check their status by entering Haj Cover No and slecting state on Haj Committee of India website.
The Haj Cover No. can also be used for Haj 2017 flight schedule once a haj pilgrim is selected in draw.