Subsidy to Hindu pilgrims


by Sulaiman Razvi

Right wing groups in India keep mum about government’s subsidy to Hindu pilgrims but makes Hajj subsidy a controversial word. Right wing groups rants about subsidy given to Muslim pilgrims. Hajj subsidy is withdrawn by BJP government and I hope that it would do the same with subsidies to Hindu pilgrims and funding to Hindu festivals

Many Muslim leaders called for scrapping off Hajj subsidy and also said that it’s the airlines which are benefited from Hajj Subsidy, refer the article Is Haj Subsidy A Sleight Of Hand To Keep Air India Afloat?

Subsidy for Hindu pilgrims is state-sponsored given by states like Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu. Here are some links which give details about subsidies given to Hindu pilgrims for Amarnath Yatra, Kailash Mansarovar, Muktinath Yatra and spending thousands of crore rupees for organizing events like Kumbh Mela, Gita festival, Diwali, cleaning of holy rivers, ponds after Ganesh Chaturthi etc. My question to those fanatics is, you keep moaning about Hajj subsidy even when Muslims were against it but your lips are sealed about the government subsidizing Hindu pilgrimage and government funds allotted for Hindu festivals? Court ordered the elimination of Hajj subsidy, will court also orders elimination of subsidies for Hindu pilgrims and those thousands of crore rupees spent on Hindu festivals? Will right wing fanatics accept that?



Delhi Govt To Fund Pilgrimage Of 77,000 Senior Citizens Every Year

Uttar Pradesh’s Akhilesh governments provides subsidy to Hindu pilgrims for Mansarovar

50,000 rupees subsidy for each Hindu pilgrim on their return from Kailash Mansarovar pilgrimage in 2015-16 year

it had done similar in 2013 also

UP CM Yogi Adityanath promises Rs 1 lakh subsidy for Kailash Mansarovar Yatra 

Tamil Nadu subsidy for Muktinath and Mansarovar

The Gujarat government is offering a subsidy of Rs 50,000 for each pilgrim
Subsidy draws more pilgrims to Kailash

Visit Mansarovar, Karnataka will pay

Karnataka State govt to fund Chardham Yatra

Rs 50,000 aid for 50 Kailash Mansarovar pilgrims in Haryana

Madhya Pradesh adds Ayodhya, 5 other places to ‘free pilgrimage scheme’
Ayodhya was on Thursday added to the list of religious places covered under Mukhyamantri Tirtha Darshan Yojana

2,500 crore rupees (370 million USD approx) budget set aside by Maharashtra government for arrangements of Nashik Kumbh Mela

Maharashtra’s Nashik Muncipal Corporation and State government approves rupees 1,052 crore in 2015

Madhya Pradesh’s Simhasta Kumbh Mela budget may rise to 5,000 crore rupees (750 million USD approx), 3,000 crore rupees has been spent so far.


Govt to give UP Rs 1,200 crore for ‘mega’ Ardh Kumbh

Yogi Adityanath’s Maiden UP Budget To Focus On Ayodhya, Mathura And Varanasi

With an eye on the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Yogi Adityanath government today earmarked in its maiden budget Rs. 1,240 crore for Ramayan, Buddhist and Krishna circuits in the pilgrim cities of Ayodhaya, Varanasi and Mathura.
The BJP government also allocated Rs. 800 crore under the Prasad Yojana to develop infrastructural facilities in Ayodhya, Varanasi and Mathura.
Besides, the budget granted Rs. 200 crore to set up a cultural centre in Varanasi, the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Rs. 3 crore for organising a Ramayana Conclave.
It also earmarked Rs. 20 crore to construct Kailash Mansrovar Bhawan in Ghaziabad and Rs. 500 crore for preparations of Ardha Kumbha Mela in Allahabad.
It allocated Rs. 1 crore to set up tje Geeta Shodh Sansthan in Mathura.

Tourism approves projects of Rs. 195 crore for krishna circuit


Several states subsidies

Every few years, the question is raised of the Haj subsidy given by the government to Muslim pilgrims flying to Mecca on state-owned Air India – whether it should continue, whether it is financially viable, whether it compromises India’s secular credentials. The Haj is a journey Muslims are enjoined to make at least once in their lifetimes to the Saudi Arabian city of Mecca, which is considered sacred in Islam.

Now, just after Saudi Arabia increased its quota of the number of Indians who will be permitted to make the pilgrimage for the first time in three decades, the minority affairs ministry has formed a committee to reconsider the subsidy. The government said it was following up on the Supreme Court order of 2012, which dictated that the subsidy should be phased out in 10 years.

There have been questions about the way in which the subsidy is administered. It has been claimed that funds routed through the Haj Committee to various community leaders were distributed as political largesse. Some say that there have been various irregularities in the flow of cash. Others contend that the subsidy is no subsidy at all but merely a transfer of funds from one part of the state machinery to the other: people availing of the subsidy travel to Saudi Arabia on the national carrier, Air India. The pilgrims fly out from Mumbai and in 2016 were given a concession of Rs 45,000 for their airfare.

Over the last decade, the Haj subsidy it was seen as part of the United Progressive Alliance government’s policy of outreach to Muslims, thought there have been voices of criticism from within the community. This week, the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi said the money for the subsidy – believed to total Rs 450 crore at present – would be better spent on the education of Muslim girls.
Not just the haj

While these objections to the Haj need to be considered, what has passed without scrutiny is the fact that India also spends money on a raft of pilgrimages, directly or indirectly.

Chief among these are the four Kumbh Melas, held in Haridwar, Allahabad, Nashik and Ujjain. Millions of people attend each fair. To ensure that they go off smoothly, Central funds are routed through state governments to pay for constructions on the mela grounds, facilities for pilgrims and security. In 2014, for instance, the Centre spent about Rs 1,150 crore and the Uttar Pradesh government Rs 11 crore on the Allahabad Kumbh. Of this, Opposition parties alleged that Rs 800 crore had been misused.

Last year, the Union culture ministry also set aside Rs 100 crore to be granted to the Madhya Pradesh for the Simhastha Mahakumbh, which is held in once in 12 years in Ujjain. The state government had already spent Rs 3,400 crore on the event.

Other pilgrimages attracting Central funds include the Kailash Manasarovar Yatra, which involves an arduous trek from North India into the mountains of Tibet. The yatra is organised by the government, which spends money on security and health facilities for the pilgrims.

Meanwhile, several states have explicit subsidies earmarked for various pilgrimages or religious events. Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand provide money to residents going on the Manasarovar yatra to cover a part of the expenses, which amount to about Rs 1.5 lakh each. The Madhya Pradesh government subsidises a range of pilgrimages for senior citizens and their attendants under the Mukhyamantri Tirtha Darshan Yojana, including visits to Ayodhya, Mathura, the birthplace of Sant Kabir and St Thomas Church in Kerala.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the Amarnath Shrine Board was set up by an act passed by the state assembly in 2000. Headed by the governor, who is aided by senior civil servants from the national and state administrative services, the board is responsible for “developmental activities” on the shrine and its environs, the “payment of suitable emoluments to the salaried staff”, constructing accommodation for pilgrims and other allied activities.

How state govts sponsor pilgrims to Haridwar, Ajmer or Jerusalem

Madhya Pradesh: Early scheme
In 2012, MP introduced the Mukhya Mantri Teertha Darshan Yojana…The first lot travelled to Rameshwaram that September. Meant for senior MP citizens who don’t pay income tax, the scheme targets 1 lakh persons every year. In the first nine months of current fiscal, 89,000 have been sent, chosen by lots from all 51 districts; one can travel only once. They are taken by train to sites such as Badrinath, Kedarnath, Jagannath Puri, Dwarka, Vaisnho Devi, Gaya, Haridwar, Shirdi Tirupati, Ajmer Sharif, Kashi, Sammed Shikar, Shravan Belagola and Velankanni Church. Much earlier, the BJP government started subsidising pilgrimages abroad for Rs 30,000 or 50% of the expenses, whichever is less. The sites covered are in Pakistan (Nankana Saheb, Hinglaj Mata Mandir), China (Mansarovar), Cambodia (Angkor Vat) and Sri Lanka (Sita Mandir, Ashok Vatika).

Delhi: Newest launch
The Delhi cabinet approved this week the Mukhyamantri Tirth Yatra Yojana, a free scheme for 1,100 senior citizens from each assembly seat. The 77,000 pilgrims, selected by lots, can take an AC bus on any of a number of package routes to sites including Mathura, Vrindavan, Agra, Haridwar, Hrishikesh, Neelkanth, Ajmer, Pushkar, Wagah, Anandpur Sahib, Vaishno Devi and Jammu. An official said the beneficiaries must not be earning more than Rs 3 lakh per year or be a government employee. The scheme includes insurance of over Rs 2 lakh. Board and lodging, food and travel will be paid for.

Uttar Pradesh: Doubled subsidy
UP gives subsidies for the Kailash Mansarovar Yatra and Sindhu Darshan Yatra. The first 100 applicants for the Sindhu Darshan subsidy have been getting Rs 10,000 since 2015, when the SP was in power.

Uttarakhand: Hindu, Muslim sites
In 2014, the Congress government started the Mere Buzurg Mere Teerth scheme sponsoring senior state citizens’ pilgrimage to sites in the state including Gangotri and Badrinath and Reetha Meetha Sahib. Delhi’s Nizamuddin Dargah was initially part of it but later removed. In 2017, the BJP government changed the name to Pandit Deendayal Matra-Pitra Tirthatan Yojana and added new sites: Haridwar’s Piran Kaliyar dargah and several Hindu sites in the state.

Himachal: Coming soon
In its vision document for the polls recently won, the BJP promised a subsidy scheme for elders on Char Dham Yatra. Manisha Nanda, additional chief secretary and principal secretary to the CM, said the vision document has been adopted as government policy and a decision will soon be taken. “We have to work out the modalities of the scheme,” she said. The vision document also promised free travel for senior citizens to religious sites in Dev Bhumi.

Haryana: 2 yatras, 100 pilgrims
Schemes started by the current government provide subsidies to 50 elderly citizens (Rs 10,000 each) on Sindhu Darshan Yatra in Ladakh, and another 50 pilgrims (Rs 50,000 each) on Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. A government spokesperson said Rs 5 lakh and Rs 25 lakh for the respective pilgrimages have been allocated in the annual plan of 2016-17.

Rajasthan: Now air too
In 2013, the Congress government introduced an all-expenses paid railway trip for senior-citizen pilgrims. The scheme, which benefited 41,390 pilgrims in 2013-14, 6,914 in 2014-15, and 8,710 in 2015-16, was renamed Deendayal Upadhyay Varisht Nagrik Teerth Yojana by the BJP government last year, with added air services added (for citizens over age 65). The current year’s scheme covers 13 sites including Tirupati, Rameswaram, Sammed Sikhar, Jagannath Temple and Vaishno Devi. Since 2013, 80,221 people have availed the scheme via train and 5,762 by air; the state hasspent Rs 125.50 crore.

Karnataka: Rs 5 crore a year
The previous BJP government had introduced a Rs 30,000 subsidy for Manasa Sarovara pilgrimage. The state budget sets aside Rs 5 crore every year for these subsidies.

Odisha: For needy elders
The government began the Baristha Nagarika Tirtha Yatra Yojana in 2016 and sanctioned Rs 5 crore for 2016-17. It provides for 100% concession for senior citizens below the poverty line, 50% for non-BPL pilgrims (except income-tax payees) of age 60-70 and 70% for those aged 70-75.

Assam: Free, plus allowance
Assam’s Dharmajyoti scheme, introduced for senior citizens (in groups of 20) by the then Congress government in 2004-05, provides for a 50% travel subsidy (by bus) on pilgrimages to various sites.
The current BJP government introduced the Punyadham Yatra scheme in 2017. It is for 3,000 pilgrims travelling in groups — men aged 60-75, women 55-70 — to Jagannath Temple, Vrindavan, Ajmer Sharif, Mathura and Vaishno Devi. The government sponsors free train (AC-3) and road transportation from Guwahati and three-day lodging, and provides allowance of Rs 150 per pilgrim plus Rs 500/day for guards (three in a group).

After stopping Haj subsidy, BJP offers to send Christians to Jerusalem — for free

AP government sanctions Rs 570 crore for organising Godavari Pushkaram

For first time, U’khand govt sanctions Rs 1.5 crore special fund for kanwar yatra

Thakurani yatra gets Rs 1 crore from state

40 million cows to get Aadhaar-like number at cost of Rs 50 crore in 1st phase

Punjab state introduces Cow Cess to shelter and protect cows because cow is holy among Hindus

Haryana state proposes Cow cess

Surcharge of 10% on stamp duty for cow protection in Rajasthan

Rs 151 crore collected as cow surcharge, claims Rajasthan govt

Rajathan government spent Rs 138 cr for care of bovines

Apart from these subsidy government also funds certain Hindu religious rites like granting 2.5 crore rupees fund to Shri Shri Ravi Shankar etc.

100 crores Gita Festival In Haryana
The Haryana government will spend around Rs 100 crore to celebrate the teachings of Bhagavad Gita at Kurukshetra, where Lord Krishna is believed to have delivered the sermons that form the crux of the Hindu religious treatise.

UP sanctions huge budget of Rs. 165 cr for Diwali celebrations

d Rs 1070-Cr budget for Jain festival; Karnataka seeks central aid

Centre sanctions Rs 50 crore fund for ‘Nabakalebar’ festival in Odisha

It had sanctioned Rs 21cr for Nabakalebar earlier

Rs 80.55 crore sanctioned for Sammakka Saralamma (Medaram Jatara) tribal festival

K Chandrashekar Rao announces Rs 200 crore for Medaram Jatara

10 crore rupees sanctioned for Bonalu celebrations

‘Temples to receive grant for Bonalu’

TS Budget allocates Rs.100 cr. for Brahmin Welfare Fund

Also check the funds allotted to different castes and religions,
Backward Classes: Rs 5,070 crore
Most Backward Classes: Rs 1,000 crore
Scheduled Castes: Rs 14,375 crore
Scheduled Tribes: Rs  8,165 crore
Dhobis & Nayee Brahmins: Rs 450 crore
Weavers (Padmashalis): Rs 1,200 crore
Yadavs (Sheep rearing):Rs  2,500 crore
Brahmin welfare:Rs 100 crore
Minorities: Rs 1,249 crore

Now you do the maths of how much funds are allotted to Hindus.

Yogi Govt To Spend Rs 195.89 Crore For Building A 100-Metre Tall Lord Ram Statue In Ayodhya

Rs 64 crore proposed for building temples

Kerala Govt sanctions Rs.8 crore for temple renovation

An amount of Rs 46.14 crore sanctioned to Guruvayur temple

Odisha Government sanctioned ₹7 crore for installing a light and sound show at the Maa Samaleswari temple in Sambalpur

Rs 200cr grant for Rajrappa temple

Yeddyurappa gave temples Rs 110 crore of taxpayers’ money between 2008 to 2011

Big boost for five temples in Telangana
Popular temples in Telangana got a big boost in 2018-19 budget that was presented in Assembly and Council on Thursday. A huge Rs 550 crore has been allocated for development and giving makeover to five noted temples. Yadagirigutta Temple Development Authority (YTDA) got a major chunk of Rs 250 crore funds. In the previous budgets, YTDA was given Rs 100 crore each year, but this time the quantum was increased.

Rs. 100-crore yearly grant for Vemulawada temple

Vemulawada Rajanna temple gets Rs 100 crore in budget

Rs. 100-crore yearly grant for Vemulawada temple

State grants Rs180 crore to temples and trusts

Andhra government spent 1,600 crore rupees on Godavari Pushkaram while Telangana spent 1,000 crores
The race led to an embarrassment of riches at the recent Godavari Pushkarulu. If Andhra lavished Rs 1,600 crore on the festivities, held mainly in Rajahmundry, Telangana spent more than Rs 1,000 crore on the festival in Dharmapuri and Bhadrachalam.

Pushkaram: Kurnool seeks grant of Rs. 463 crore
The State government was urged to sanction Rs. 463 crore for augmenting facilities at pilgrim centres in Kurnool district for the ensuing Krishna pushkaram and proposals were sent to the government, District Collector Ch. Vijayamohan said on Tuesday.

Andhra Pradesh CM Jagan Mohan Reddy sanctions ₹70 cr. for development of Kanaka Durga temple

Rs. 10 crore for Mallanna temple

Rs 5 crore for development of Tarakeshwar temple

34,229 temples to get grant of Rs. 36,000 every year
Apart from all this, Mr Tahsildar said that the State government has earmarked Rs. 150 crore during the current year for the maintenance and upkeep of the temples under the Endowment Department.

Rs 286 crore grant to boost Char Dham infrastructure
Funds for the reconstruction activities include Rs 65 crore for multi-level parking and tourist reception centre, Rs 29.95 crore for construction of three-tier protection behind Kedarnath for safety of pilgrims, Rs 8.22 crore for reconstruction of damaged NH-Sonprayag–Gaurikund and parking lot, Rs 70 crore for reconstruction of Kedarpuri godown, Rs 4.6 crore for construction of three bailey bridges at Kedarnath between Kedarnath and Bhairon temple, Rs 5 crore for rain shelter and tourist kiosks along the yatra route and Rs 10 crore for construction of 180 bio-toilet units on the yatra route, Rs 4.5 crore for base station, DSPT phones optical fibre cable, wi-fi night vision high resolution camera, Rs 10 crore for construction of ghat at confluence of Mandakini and Saraswati rivers, Rs 65 crore for a multi-level parking at Sonprayag and Rs 1.50 crore for setting up of medical relief posts along the yatra route.

Telangana CM Chandrashekhar Rao to set up Brahmin society for welfare of poor

Karnataka pays for rain rituals,

Andhra Pradesh govt orders ‘Yagnas’ in temples to please rain gods.

Telangana priests to get salaries on par with government employees

Govt. to provide salaries to archakas of 6C temples

Salaried priest for Kolhapur temple soon


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