About 85 per cent of the women who travel to perform Haj this year from India without Mehram (male companion), a rule that was relaxed last year, is from the southern state of Kerala.
Of the 2,340 women who have registered for Haj without a male companion, 2,011 women are from Kerala, according to reports. It was in 2018 that the government had lifted the ban on women travelling without a male companion for the Haj. As per the available data, more women from Kerala have applied for Haj.
Though Kerala has more than two thousand women going without a male companion, women in larger states like Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh is seen to be less interested in travelling without a male companion. When 99 women applied to travel without Mehram from Uttar Pradesh, only 33 women from Tamil Nadu applied in this category. From Maharashtra, there are 31 applications, Madhya Pradesh 27, Rajasthan and Karnataka 23 applications.
As per an official statement, the government has received about 2.67 lakh applications for the Haj. Last year about 1.745 lakh Muslims from the country performed Haj of which 48 per cent were women.
This time, the GST on haj pilgrimage has been brought down to 5 per cent from 18 per cent, which means that the airfares would see a considerable reduction. The officials have made it clear that the haj process was entirely online, which has helped in maintaining transparency of the whole process.