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International News

Jul 07, 2019
8:27AM

Saudi Arabia adopts Digital India, equality of women in this year's Haj

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Indian Haj mission in Saudi Arabia has adopted digital technology to reach out to a large number of pilgrims as part of the Government of India’s initiative of Digital India.

With the introduction of Haj App, Indian diplomats in Saudi Arabia are trying to form a bridge with the pilgrims not only to facilitate a smooth and hassle-free Haj operation but also to receive grievances and feedbacks to improve the service.

This was announced by Indian Ambassador Dr. Ausaf Sayeed yesterday at a press conference along with Consul General Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh to brief about ongoing Indian Haj operation in Saudi Arabia.

The App - Indian Haj Information System- developed by the consulate is to receive feedback, a grievance from Hajis, Ambassador said. Currently, it receives feedback in English, Hindi and Urdu, other regional languages will be incorporated later, he said.

Briefing the media, the Ambassador added that besides the App, regularly d website and social media channels, toll-free numbers and exclusive in-house Youtube channel are other means to connect the officials and pilgrims.

Ambassador briefed that app also connects with the pilgrims to Haj service coordinators known as Qadimul Hajjaj of their respective states. Qadimul Hajjaj are government employees who are deputed to assist pilgrims during Haj season.

Explaining about medical facilities to visiting pilgrims, Ausaf Sayeed said that health status and medical history of pilgrims is being stored at online “e-MASIHA” (Medical Assistance System for Indian Hajis Abroad).

E-MASIHA would retrieve pilgrims’ health information to apply appropriate treatment whenever he or she visits Indian medical facilities during Haj.

Besides the 19 dispensaries, four hospitals with 90 beds have been established in Makkah and Madinah to treat the Indian pilgrims in case of emergency.

Ambassador Sayeed said that 101 women officials out of the total 625 officials from various ministries have been deputed on temporary duty to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj season.

“We have set up an exclusive office and dispensary which is manned by lady staff itself for single woman pilgrims, above age 45, coming for Haj”, the ambassador added.

This year 2332 single women are travelling for Haj.

In a bid to empower Muslim women, the Narendra Modi government has removed the restriction on single women pilgrims to travel and encouraged them to apply for Haj.

Ausaf Sayeed told that Saudi Arabian mobile SIM card is being provided to pilgrims in India itself which can be activated in their buildings in Madinah and Makkah after recording their biometrics. Biometrics is a mandatory requirement for the issue of  SIM cards in Saudi Arabia.

This year, a total of 2 lakh Indian pilgrims are expected to travel to Saudi Arabia for Haj. 


1.4 lakh pilgrims are travelling through government arm HCI and remaining through private Haj operators.

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