The Haj Committee of India has imposed new norms of once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage via subsidy following the Central Government’s decision in this regard against the earlier policy of once in five years.

“All the faithfuls undertaking the pilgrimage will have to submit an affidavit with the application that they are going for the first time for the pilgrimage,” Shakir Hussain, Haj Committee of India (HCOI) CEO, told PTI here today.

“The decision has been taken to give more opportunities to those pilgrims who have never performed Haj before and strict action would be taken against those who are found to be violating the new norms,” he added.

In a directive issued on January 18 to HCOI, the chief agency for Haj operations in the country, the Ministry of External Affairs had said that pilgrims would not be considered for the journey for the second time if they have performed Haj earlier on Government subsidy.

Earlier, pilgrims were allowed to go for the second time after a gap of five years after their first visit.

Meanwhile, HCOI has also announced that the application forms for the pilgrimage would be available free-of-cost from February 6 to March 20 from the offices of state Haj committees this year.