APN News

  • Tuesday, August, 2020| Today's Market | Current Time: 12:51:43
  • Goodwill is an intangible asset because it is not a physical asset like buildings or equipment. The value of a company’s brand name, Hajj-Good-will-delegation-asolid customer base, good customer relations, good employee relations and any patents or proprietary technology represent goodwill. Goodwill is difficult to price, but it does make a company more valuable. This definition not limited to commercial establishments. In Modern times, countries too have to maintain their goodwill in international deals.

    Goodwill Ambassadors have been an official  part of governments and cultures for as long as diplomacy  has existed; to exchange gifts and presents; humanitarian  relief; or development aid, using well-known celebrities, scientists, authors, known activists, and other high society figures. Goodwill missions of countries are usually carried out or overseen by the head of state, and do not necessarily involve diplomatic credentials outside of a letter of presentation or letter of credence.

    India used to send Jumbo official delegation to Saudi Arabia during annual hajj pilgrimage. This consists of more than two dozen persons. It consisted of Union and state ministers, MPs, MLAs, Political bigwig’s higher officials, and their family members etc.

    The practice ended in 2012 after Supreme Court intervened in the issue and ordered to stop sending large delegations on government expense. Indian Hajj Delegation, which was a backdoor means for the government to send its favorite Muslims free of charge putting their burden on the poor pilgrims. Over the years this official delegation crossed a hundred pilgrims whom do nothing for the pilgrims while in Mecca and Medina; rather they are a sheer burden on the local consulate staff, stay in 5-star hotels and use luxury cars while the poor pilgrims are herded in far away buildings.

    India’s apex court objected to that jumbo size Prime Minister’s goodwill delegation that visits   Saudi Arabia every year at the government’s expense. The Supreme Court bench asked the government to choose a maximum 10 among the hajj pilgrims who were in Saudi Arabia on their own expenses. They could coordinate with the Indian envoy there for conveying goodwill of Indians to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    Thanks to Supreme Court order, the entire scenario has changed. Last two years Government of India sent two-member official delegations.

    This year two Senior BJP politicians represented India at this year’s Hajj where over 1.3 lakh Indian pilgrims assembled. The good will delegation of Government of India consisted of Arif Beg, a former federal minister who hails from Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh and Abdul Rasheed Ansari, National President of BJP’s minority wing, of Delhi. By reducing the size of the team, Government of India saved huge amount of money from exchequer.

    Despite criticism, in 2012 too a delegation came from India, led by K. Rehman Khan, Deputy Leader of Rajyasabha…  Altogether 26 persons were there in the Indian good will delegation team.  Government spent at least Rs. 14 Lakh per person. They stayed at five star hotels in Makkah and Madeena. Government spent at least Rs. 100 crores during the past decade in this regard. These people roam around Saudi Arabia at the expense of Indian taxpayer’s money. They and siblings seen on Shopping malls of red sea city, Jeddah

    It would be interesting to analyze the evolution of the size of India’s goodwill delegation. The size of the delegation was only three between 1967 and 1973, after which it remained 10 until 1987. Subsequently, the delegation picked up flab and became 31 in 1997, 36 (2005), 30 (2010) and 27 (2011).

    The Supreme Court also directed the Union government to gradually reduce and abolish hajj subsidy in 10 years and invest the amount — averaging over Rs 650 crore a year for last five years — in education and other measures for social development of the minority community.
    “The subsidy money may be more profitably used for uplift of the community in education and other indices of social development,” said Justice Aftab Alam, who wrote the order. The Hajj Subsidy started in around 1974 when Govt. of India stopped pilgrims from traveling by sea. In addition, Government insisted the Indian pilgrims should use air travel mode only.   This was a government decision; no Muslim individual or organization had demanded it. As a gesture, the government started paying the small difference between the sea and airfares.

    In the beginning, a very small amount was paid. However, the subsidy kept growing as both airfares and the numbers of pilgrims kept growing. In the year 2011 there were about 1, 25,000 pilgrims from India. By 2007, the amount of the subsidy had gone up to Rs. 595 crore, and in 2008, it rose to Rs. 770 crore. The government policy since 1994 has been that it will pay any amount in excess of Rs. 12,000 per pilgrim.

    A very large section of  Muslims – from Islamic scholars or  intellectuals to ordinary citizens – believe that only that hajj is acceptable to Allah the entire expense of which comes out of the personal finances of the pilgrim concerned. The money needed for the performance of hajj should come out of one’s own legitimate earning or possession and the amount should be sufficient to meet the entire expenses incurred on the performance of hajj. Among other things, this includes the entire travel expenses, whatever the mode of travel.  Some of the Muslim scholars too voice against this subsidized Hajj.

    “It is for the first time that a senior official from the Ministry of External Affairs was sent to Jeddah to oversee the returning flight schedules,” said Arif Baig, who has also served as union minister and is a senior member of the BJP.
    Addressing a press conference held in Jeddah, he said- “Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee of the previous BJP-led government had mooted to expand the number of embarkation points in all states of the country so pilgrims did not need to travel to Mumbai to board Hajj flights.”
    He added that Modi had instructed Air India, the country’s flag carrier and the Foreign Affairs ministry to ensure that this year’s Hajj pilgrimage would be the best and most hassle-free than ever before.
    Baig also said that for the first time Air India had kept two flights on standby to ferry returning Hajj pilgrims and also deployed large-sized aircrafts in case of a delay in the scheduled flights. Meanwhile, deputy leader of the goodwill delegation and BJP Minorities Cell President Abdul Rasheed Ansari refuted allegations that the BJP administration is persecuting Muslims in the country. He said that the BJP is committed to maintaining religious harmony. He also said that it would make efforts to enhance the Hajj quota by reducing the number of private tour operators.
    Some 135,914 Indian pilgrims performed Hajj this year of which 99,914 came through the government-run Hajj committee and 36,000 came through private tour operators.

    Source : C.O.T Azeez

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