TMC MP urges Centre to scrap ITR norms for Haj
Kolkata: After the Union government made Income Tax Return (ITR) filing mandatory for Haj pilgrims, TMC MP Sajda Ahmed has written to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman urging her to withdraw the same norm.
In her letter, she mentioned that some people living below the poverty line also perform Haj. Thus, she requested the minister to roll back the norm. She also sought cancellation of GST on Haj services.
According to Ahmed, several poor Muslim families are unable to do Haj due to the mandatory ITR filing norm and GST. She further stated that some economically backward Muslims don't have PAN cards as their incomes don't come under any tax slab.
In view of the pandemic, the Union government has reduced the number of flights to Saudi Arabia. Now, only 10 flights will operate.
The new protocol cites that each pilgrim has to submit a negative RT-PCR test certificate before leaving for Saudi Arabia.
The test has to be conducted by an approved laboratory 72 hours before undertaking Haj.
The first batch of pilgrims is expected to depart for Saudi Arabia on June 26 next year. The last flight is expected to take off on July 13. The return journey will commence from August 14.
According to the Union government, 2.13 lakh applications had been received for Haj in 2020. But, the pilgrimage was cancelled due to the pandemic.
Flight services for Saudi Arabia will be available from Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Srinagar, Bengaluru, Delhi, Guwahati, Hyderabad and Cochin.