Sun. Apr 14th, 2024
Government uses ‘Online Randomized Digital Selection’ to select Haj pilgrims

In an effort to promote transparency, the government has launched several initiatives to improve the Haj pilgrimage experience for Indian pilgrims in 2023. The applications that were submitted were decided using an Online Randomized Digital Selection (ORDS) procedure with no human intervention. The list of candidates who were chosen and placed on the waitlist was released for the first time on the official portal right after the selection process. 

SMS notifications were sent to all 1.4 lakh selected pilgrims alerting them of their selection for Haj 2023. Moreover, SMS messages advising waitlisted pilgrims of their queue status and place have been sent. Application for the Haj and pilgrim selection were both done online. 14,935 Haj candidates have obtained assured allotments out of a total of 1.84 lakh applications, including 10,621 in the 70+ age bracket and 4,314 Women Without Mehram (LWM). The number of women travelling on Haj alone without a male companion is at an all-time high.

The Ministry of Minority Affairs has partnered with State Bank of India(SBI) to make specific arrangements to provide Forex facilities to the pilgrims.          Haj Policy 2023 allows pilgrims the opportunity and flexibility to arrange their own foreign currency or take less foreign exchange, depending on their particular needs, unlike previous years when each pilgrim was given 2100 Riyals by the Haj Committee of India, regardless of their actual requirements.

With more than 22,000 branches throughout India, SBI will make it easier for all pilgrims to get the FOREX and required insurance they needto meet the requirements while they are in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The bank will reach out to the pilgrims in this connection by way of SMS.

All pilgrims have access to the FOREX Card service, which completely eliminates the risk of theft and currency loss. The pilgrims can get their money back from the bank if the card is lost during the pilgrimage.

Additionally, SBI will set up booths at all sites of embarkation with a designated focal point and nodal officer to make it easier for pilgrims to receive FOREX in cash or through a Forex Card and to offer any necessary advice and assistance. SBI will run a helpline, and these nodal officers’ contact information will soon be made available to the public.

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