Tribune News Service
Amritsar, September 28
Amid upheaval by some members over the SGPC’s leniency over handling misappropriation of Guru Granth Sahib ‘saroops’ , the SGPC passed its annual budget of Rs 981 crore for 2020-2021 on Monday.
Nonetheless, the reduction in income in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic showed its impact on the proposed budget that was squeezed by 18.5 per cent. During 2019-2010, it was Rs 1,205 crore.
There has been a reduction of at least 30 per cent revenue due to Covid lockdown restricting the footfall of devotees. It was also being observed that there were bleak chances of revenue getting increased in near future if the prevailing situation due to pandemic is any indication.
So, the budget has been drafted with curtailed expenses and judicious use of resources and funds. There is decline in allocation of funds for the management of gurdwaras.
Against Rs 714 crore last year, only Rs 577 crore has been allocated for the management of gurdwaras in 2020-2021.
The budget, presented by SGPC general secretary Harjinder Singh Dhami, was bifurcated in to three parts-General Board Fund, Trust Funds and Education Funds.
For 2020-2021, the General Board funds have been curtailed from 75 crore to Rs 57 crore, a reduction of 28 per cent; the Trust Funds from Rs 55.33 crore to Rs 37.61 crore, a decrease of 32 per cent and the Education fund from Rs 37.70 crore to Rs 28.44 crore.
However, no constraint was witnessed when it comes to printing presses where saroops and Sikh religious literature was printed and published. A total of Rs 8.20 crore was spared to be spent on four printing presses-Golden Offset press, Gurdwara printing press, Shirnomani printing press and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Mission, Shahpur (Ambala).
Despite limitations, SGPC prioritised to utlise its funds mainly to prosper ‘Dharam Parchar’ and education among the Gursikh youth.
For Dharam Parchar, funds to the tune of Rs 58 crore have been allocated for 2020-2021 whereas last year it was Rs 84 crore. Similarly, Rs 215 crore was proposed for education institutions against Rs 238 crore last year.
Sparing a thought for the Gursikh girls, SGPC has endeavoured to provide free education to at least 200 students. Under the plan, they would be taught religious studies, besides the mainstream curriculum.
A dedicated college, Mata Sahib Kaur Girls College at Takht Damdama Sahib in Talwandi Sabo, and funds to the tune of Rs 3.5 crore has been spared for the purpose.
A 10 per cent quota would be reserved for the daughters of Raagis, Dhadis, Preachers and Granthis. An additional, 5 per cent quota would be for the BPL (below poverty line) Gursikh family girls.
Similarly, for Gursikh sportspersons, Rs 90 lakh, natural calamities Rs 96 lakh and Siklighar Sikhs Rs 5.30 crore have been allocated. Another Rs 1.5 crore has been kept reserved for education of children belonging to economically weaker section.
For Miri Piri Medical College, Markanda and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Mission, Ambala, Rs 14.20 core have been proposed.
For commemorating SGPC’s centenarian foundation, 400th centenary of Guru Teg Bahadur and 300th centenary of Bhai Taru Singh, Rs 3.45 crore have been allocated. For Sikh research and literature Rs 5.7 lakh has been spared.
In the presence of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh and Takht Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh, some members including Sewa Singh Sekhwan, Bibi Kiranjot Kaur strongly criticised SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal and his team’s failure to deal with the crisis arisen due to saroops’ embezzlement and bringing defame to the community. They insisted to make the entire 1000-page investigation report of Akal Takht constituted panel public and take exemplary action against the guilty ones.
Kiranjot raised finger over the integrity of the SGPC management while fearing that some “influential” officials who played dubious role enjoyed immunity.
The members also lodged their protest that the copies of budget were despatched to them just a day prior, giving them negligible time to study.
Educational institutions Rs 215 cr
Gurdwaras Rs 577 cr
Dharam parchar Rs 58 cr
Printing press Rs 8.2 cr
Gursikh girl education Rs 3.5 cr