Hajj 2023Middle East

Efforts on to ensure cashless Hajj 2023

Preparations for Hajj 2023 are going on in full swing, with State Bank of India (SBI) forex cards being arranged for the first time to facilitate Hajj pilgrims. Compulsory insurance scheme is also being arranged.

Union Minister for Minority Affairs Smriti Irani, expressing these views here today, said that the Central Government is now arranging forex cards for pilgrims with the support of State Bank of India, through which they can travel for Hajj without cash.

This time pilgrims will be relieved from carrying cash by providing the facility of SBI Forex card. 184,000 people had applied, out of which 140,000 were selected through an online lottery which was immediately notified via SMS

Among the selected pilgrims, 10,621 pilgrims aged 70 or more were selected, while 4,314 female pilgrims without Mahram were selected and the names of 45,000 people were on the waiting list.

 The Union Minister further said that this year the central government is also arranging insurance for the pilgrims so that in case of an accident during the pilgrimage, financial assistance can be provided to the victims. This insurance will be mandatory for every aspirant.

 Alok Choudhary, Managing Director of SBI, while explaining the details of forex card, said that their nodal officers will be present at all embarkation points in India, who will provide cash and forex related facilities to the pilgrims.

As per the directions of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), every Hajj pilgrim can put an amount of 10,000 dollars in the forex card and the pilgrims can withdraw Riyals from the ATM there for their expenses and needs after arriving in Saudi Arabia.

Apart from this, the pilgrims will also have the facility that in case of running out of money in Saudi Arabia, their families can save them from trouble by adding more money to the Forex card from India. Alok Chaudhary said that SBI nodal officers will be present at each embarkation point and the list of these nodal officers will also be made available to the pilgrims.

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