TBA Opinion

Govinda Govindaa…? Jagan Govt’s ordinance forces Tirumala to fund politricks

The state government issued an ordinance amending the Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments Act, 1987. Under the new norms, the annual contribution of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) to the State government has been increased to Rs. 50 crore from the earlier Rs 2.5 crore. 

The richest temple administration in the country will have to cough up the amount towards Common Good Fund (CGF), Archakas and Workers Fund (AWF) and Endowments Administrative Fund (EAF). 

Governor Biswabhushan Harichandan promulgated Ordinance No 14 of 2021, amending the Act. As the Assembly is not in session, the Governor issued the ordinance to bring the amendment with immediate effect. The Rs. 50 crore will be used to develop less-income temples under the ambit of the Endowments department and it will be revised every five years with an enhancement of 10 percent of the total. 

According to the ordinance, the TTD is earning crores of rupees annually through donations from devotees, offerings, sale of darshanam tickets, Arjitha sevas and other sources, but are paying just Rs 2.5 crore per year to the Endowments department under Common Good Fund, Archakas and other employees Welfare Fund and Endowments Administrative Fund. 

Other temples such as Srisailam Mallikarjuna Swamy temple, Vijayawada Durga temple, Annavaram Satyanarayana Swamy temple, Dwaraka Tirumala Temple, Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple are paying not less than Rs. 10 crore. 

Amendments to TTD not a good sign?

In order to maintain uniformity based on the income generated, the government amended Sections 65, 70, 116 and 161 of the Act making it mandatory to contribute Rs 50 crore annually. “This ordinance may be called Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions and Endowments (Second amendment) Ordinance -2021 and it shall come into force immediately,” reads the ordinance. 

The fund from the TTD will be used by the Endowments department to develop and renovate temples in the state, maintain Aagama and Veda Paatashalas and Dhupa Dheepa Naivedyam schemes. Also, ordinance No.13 of 2021 was issued by the State government constituting Andhra Pradesh Dharmika Parishad  with four official members and 17 non-official members from different areas.

Another controversy in the making?

Following this Ordinance, the opposition parties have been protesting how Tirumala and TTD Board’s funds are being diverted to suit political interests of those in the current YSRCP government. “Despite the Jagan government stating that it is for other temples’ development, why is it not specifying how it will use these funds? And, what is the need to take TTD’s funds for the state,” questioned an angry TDP leader. 

Meanwhile, BJP leaders are upset with this decision. They argue that this could be to fulfil the current revenue deficit state of Andhra Pradesh which is in doldrums financially. Going by this move, it is clear that this could unnecessarily boil into a controversy given that people’s sentiments are attached to the temple and its welfare. 

Additionally, this is the second such move concerning TTD that the YSRCP government has come up with after its “pay for Annaprasadam” idea didn’t go down well with the public. How this Ordinance will change the fate of TTD is yet to be seen. 

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Tejaswini Pagadala

Communications Consultant: TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.
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