Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Budgeting Venkateshwara

Very few institutions apart from Governments and undertakings like the Indian Railways present budgets every year. Every year, the regular budget in India is receded by the Railway Budget. However, there is another institution in India whose budget is awaited as eagerly as the Union Budget and the Railway Budget and this is the budget of the famous Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the Lord Venkateswara or Srinivasa temple in Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh.
The TTD budget is generally regarded as the largest religious budget in India and one of the largest on the world.
The TTD, a month ago, approved a Rs.2,401 crore budget for 2014-15. This is an increase of over six percent compared to 2013-14 budget of Rs.2,248 crore.
It has budgeted a massive Rs.900 crore as offerings by devotees in the “hundi” or offering box. This is as against Rs. 859 crores it had targeted under this head last year. Apart from this amount, it is targetting Rs.655 crore as interest on its money and other valuables deposited in national banks (Last year, it was Rs. 555 crores).
Another massive and rather regular revenue earner for the TTD is  human hair. Thousands of devotees offer hair to the Lord every day and the “hairaising” sale is expected to fetch Rs.220 crore. This is as against Rs.200 crore that the TTD earned last year.
It also stands to gain Rs.190 crore though sale of  Darshan tickets, Rs.130 crore through sale of  prasada and Rs.108 crore through rentals of its properties all over India.
The interest on investments deposited by the TTD in national banks is placed at  Rs 555 crore.
Since it is one of the biggest employers in the region, payment of salaries and wages to its 9,000 staff will cost it Rs.400 crore. This is in addition to 7000 employees and twelve other temples it runs in other parts of the country.
Another Rs.155 crore is budgeted as outsourcing expenses. Besides, the TTD has set aside Rs.109 crore for propagation of  Hindu dharma, Rs.88 crore for education and Rs.92 crore for health and sanitation. It has also set aside Rs.52 crore on vigilance and security and Rs.56 crore on hospitals operated by it.
The budget this year and those of the earlier years show that the sacred abode of the “Lord of  Seven Hills’, shows no sign of recession.
The Lord’s abode, it seems, is immune from recession. Year by year, the TTD coffers are getting richer and richer and there is no end to the ever growing queue of  devotees and their offerings.

The budget also shows a rising graph every year and this shows the faith that the people have in the Lord. Is this a lesson that our politicians and bureaucrats can learn.      

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