Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi
In picture: Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi speaks at the launch of the Hajj Android app on Monday, January 2, 2017.Twitter/Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

The Ministry of Minority Affairs on Monday launched an Android app for digital registration for Hajj 2017 and the app is currently available on Google Play Store. The move comes just days after the ministry launched a website in four languages – English, Hindi, Urdu and Arabic – for the same purpose.

This is the first time the entire Hajj process, starting with registration, is going digital. The ministry said in a statement on Monday: "Next Hajj has already been announced and application will be accepted from today." The last date for registration for the annual pilgrimage is January 24.

The ministry said about the app, which was launched in Mumbai by Union Minister for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Monday: "Applying for Hajj, enquiry and information, news and updates and e-payment are main features of the Haj Committee of India (HCI) mobile app."

It added: "Application for Hajj can be made directly from the app. Five adults and two infants can apply together as a group. A PDF copy of the form will go to the applicant's email. After affixing the photo, the printout with documents is to be sent to the state haj committees. Registration fees can also be made through this app."

Speaking at the launch of the app on Monday, Naqvi said that the Central government and the HCI have already started preparations to ensure that the Hajj 2017 is "completely smooth and convenient for the pilgrims". He added that "several important suggestions" on Hajj have been received and discussed with the concerned authorities. Union Civil Aviation Ministry officials have also been roped in to ensure aircraft with modern facilities are provided to Hajj pilgrims.

The ministry statement also said that more than 96,000 people from India had embarked on Hajj through the government route, while around 36,000 others had managed to complete the annual pilgrimage through private tour operators.