Saudi Arabia today increased India's annual Haj quota by 34,500, a move welcomed by the NDA government as a "matter of pleasure". Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Saudi Arabia's Haj and Umrah Minister Dr Mohammad Saleh bin Taher Benten inked an agreement in this regard in Jeddah today, increasing the size of India's Haj quota from 1,36,020 to 1,70,520. 

According to a statement issued by Minister of

State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) Naqvi, it is the biggest increase in quota for Haj pilgrims after 1988. The latest increase in quota will be effective from the current year.

The Saudi authorities had five years ago slashed quotas for foreign pilgrims coming from each country by 20 per cent in view of safety of the devotees as they undertook expansion of Grand Mosque there.

Accordingly, India's quota was brought down to 1,36,020 from 1,70,000 in 2012. Last year, a total of 1,35,903 devotees from India performed Haj. Expressing pleasure at signing of the agreement, Mr Naqvi tweeted that Saudi Arabia has increased over raise in Indian quota.

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