Pilgrims have to spend around Tk 16,000 more this year to perform hajj, mainly because of high airfare.
The cabinet yesterday approved the draft of Hajj Package-2018, fixing the maximum cost for a pilgrim under the government arrangement at Tk 3,97,929, which was Tk 3,81,508 last year.
The minimum expenditure under the arrangement has been fixed at Tk 3, 31,359, and it was Tk 3, 19,355 the previous year.
This year's airfare for a pilgrim has been set at Tk 1,38,191, which was Tk 1,24,723 last year. Besides, pilgrims have to pay 1 percent more on house rent than that of last year.
The approval came at the weekly cabinet meeting at the Prime Minister's Office. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired it.
Around 1,27,198 Bangladeshi pilgrims can perform hajj this year, and 7,198 of them under the government management, said Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam while briefing reporters at the secretariat.
The minimum cost, excluding the house rent, for a pilgrimage under the private arrangement has been fixed at Tk 1,68,277. The cost was Tk 1,56,537 the previous year.
The cabinet, however, has not decided the maximum cost under the arrangement.
All pilgrims must carry machine readable passports this year, said the cabinet secretary, adding that those who performed hajj or got hajj visas in the last three years, since 2015, have to pay additional 2,100 Saudi riyals, equivalent to Tk 46,505, for performing hajj this year.
The cabinet also gave the nod to the draft of “the National Hajj and Umrah Policy, 2018”.
A hajj agency can send maximum 300 and minimum 150 pilgrims from Bangladesh. An aircraft can carry three hajj agencies' pilgrims maximum, Shafiul said.
The pilgrims under the private management have to pay for qurbani (sacrificing animals) coupon of Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia, he added.
Those wishing to go on pilgrimage have to register online. The information of registration will be matched with the central NID database, and the registration will remain valid for two years, the cabinet secretary said.
He mentioned that police verification of the pilgrims would not be required as it was done during issuance of passports.
The pilgrims who will stay over two kilometres from Makkah will get transport facilities, added the cabinet secretary.
The cabinet also gave the final approval to the draft of "The Children (Amendment) Law, 2018, keeping provisions for setting up one or more juvenile tribunals in district headquarters.
About the proposed act, Cabinet Secretary Shafiul said the existing Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal would act as the Juvenile Tribunal, which will try offences committed by the juveniles.
The cabinet also approved the draft of “The Textile Act, 2018”, aiming to maintain quality of textile products as Bangladesh earns huge foreign currency from apparel exports.
“It's a new law which was formulated considering the importance of the textile sector as the country's earning from the apparel export is $29.26 billion, which is 83.95 percent of the total export of the last fiscal year," Shafiul said.
The cabinet also gave the nod to the proposed “Bangladesh Employees Welfare Board (Amendment) Law, 2018", incorporating a provision to term all officials and employees of the republic "employees".
The draft of "The National Sports Council Act-2018” also got approval to make the existing law more time-befitting.