Hajj, Now a Digitized Affair

Wednesday, December 24, 2014
The Hajj, an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah, is one of the world's largest gatherings as hundreds of thousands of Muslims travel to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to fulfill their religious obligation. This gathering of the Muslims can be a nightmare to manage if proper systems are not put in place.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) is responsible for managing the pilgrimage for around 1.5 million Pakistani pilgrims every year. With loss of belongings, health and lodging issues, and ignorance of the laws of KSA common among pilgrims who undertake this journey from Pakistan, a comprehensive system to handle their complaints and inquiries and to monitor their status was the need of the hour. PITB and Ministry of Religious Affairs together developed the Hajj Monitoring System (HMS) in 2013 to cater the needs of Pakistani pilgrims.

The main features of HMS are:

  • 24/7 accessible helpline, both in KSA and Pakistan, an online portal and an android application to register/entertain their queries, complaints and suggestions in an effective manner. The purpose of this CMS is to identify bottlenecks using comprehensive analytics and thus increase complaint resolution efficiency
  • Comprehensive monitoring system along with dashboard for officers/officials
  • An android application for monitoring private Hajj Group Organizers. Previously, monitoring forms were filled manually with no or little verifiable evidence that the concerned official actually went in the field. But through this app, the official had to take photographic evidence regarding the monitoring activity.  Moreover, it captures the GPS coordinates and maps the data on the online system.   
  • Incident reporting system, which carries a different level of escalation and alert mechanism for the authorities to mobilize and respond accordingly
  • Lost & Found cell operations for reporting a missing/found Haji or his/her belongings along with a full inventory management in KSA

In 2014, to facilitate the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Private Hajj Group Organizers, PITB deployed the Hajj Group Organizers’ Management Information System (HGOMIS). In this system, the complete data of Hajj Group Organizers has been automated and made available online.

With HGOMIS in place, the registration process is transformed into a considerably more convenient two-step process. First the Hajj Group Organizers get themselves registered online by submitting their comprehensive details. Once registered, they are liable to mention all their packages and the number of pilgrims they have registered in all these packages. Further to this, it also captures the flight schedules and accommodation details of all the private pilgrims. With the help of the data provided, PITB’s system generates an automated summary of data that illustrates the details of each Haji along with their package.

PITB’s new and innovative system has completely modified the scenario, making the registration process a lot more efficient. Both the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the Hajj Group Organizers now save a lot of their time and fatigue, and the details of all Private scheme pilgrims are much more readily available via the comprehensive dashboard and reports to all the concerned authorities for better management and timely decision making.

  To complement this further, PITB also automated the office operations of the Ministry of Religious Affairs by revolutionizing the booking and allocation of flights and residence for all Government scheme pilgrims. The system designed by PITB, the Flight, Building Booking and Room Allocation MIS, has been tailor-made for the Ministry of Religious Affairs and KSA officials to efficiently manage the flight and building bookings and room allocation operations for the pilgrims. The tasks which took days and weeks are now achievable within hours and also resource independent. Both the residences and flights can be expediently allocated well in time to the Pakistani pilgrims, to facilitate them during their Holy journey and save them a lot of inconvenience and exhaustion in KSA.
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All these new and revolutionary solutions to the problems faced during management of Hajj every year provided by PITB have been well-received by the pilgrims and the Ministry alike, and are yet another testimonial to PITB’s commitment of facilitating the citizens of Pakistan in every way possible.