NEW DELHI: The Centre will introduce a new policy for Haj this year, through private tour operators (PTOs) under which they will have to mandatorily provide certain facilities to pilgrims such as medical insurance.
According to the draft policy, PTOs involved in any sort of litigation will be barred from taking part in the pilgrimage. The new policy is aimed at bringing accountability and transparency to the functioning of PTOs, said a senior government functionary.
The government will allocate seats to PTOs on the basis of their experience and their annual turnover.
Though there was a policy for PTOs previously, there were ambiguities in it and it was valid till 2017. Every year, the ministry of minority affairs receives hundreds of cheating complaints against PTOs and many of these complaints even go to court,” the official added. The new policy will be vaild till 2023.
PTOs, that will take part in Haj and Umrah, have been classified into three categories. PTOs having an experience of 12 years or an annual turnover of `5 crore in any of the preceding two years will be allocated 30 per cent of the total seats. PTOs having an annual turnover of R1 crore from Haj and Umrah operations and those having facilitated a minimum of 50 Umrah pilgrims over a period of 5 years will also get 30 percent of total seats.
The third category of PTOs will get 40 per cent of total quota of seats. Under this category, the PTOs should have an experience of at least seven years with an annual turnover of Rs 3 crore.
To ensure that pilgrims don’t get cheated by PTOs, all operators will have to mandatorily sign an agreement with each pilgrim detailing the services to be provided to the pilgrim and the charges payable.