Perneet Singh, Tribune News Service
Amritsar, March 15. The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee today passed its annual budget of Rs 806 crore for 2013-14, registering a 21.13 per cent increase over last year’s budget of Rs 665.46 crore. The SGPC executive passed the budget unanimously with primary focus on maintenance of gurdwaras, spread of education and propagation of Sikhism.
The budget could not be presented and approved in the SGPC general house for the second successive year, as the fate of the new House continues to hang in the balance over the Sehajdhari row.
SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar said the major chunk of the budget had gone into maintenance of gurdwaras for which Rs 510.78 crore had been set aside as compared to Rs 421.26 crore last fiscal. In a boost for the education sector, the Education Fund has been increased from Rs 18.40 crore to Rs 23.90 crore. Similarly, the allocation for SGPC-run educational institutions has been raised from Rs 109.29 crore to Rs 133.64 crore.
The allocation for the Dharam Parchar Committee, which primarily works for the propagation of Sikhism, has witnessed an increase of Rs 9 crore i.e. from Rs 43 crore to Rs 52 crore.
The General Board Fund has been increased from Rs 43.40 crore to Rs 48.40 crore, while the Trust Fund has gone up from Rs 23.61 crore to Rs 31.23 crore. Another Rs 6.09 crore has been allocated for the printing press.
Further, Rs 7 crore has been allocated for “kar sewa” of gurdwaras and Rs 1.46 crore for promotion of hockey and kabaddi in SGPC-run institutions. There is also a plan to make hockey compulsory in SGPC-run schools and colleges.
Makkar said the SGPC had already given a financial aid of Rs 3.27 crore to 1,605 cancer patients and the budget allocation for this had been increased further.
Over Rs 58 lakh had been spent on the education for poor, besides another Rs 25 lakh on higher education of children from the 1984 riot-hit families, he added.
It has also been decided to reserve seats for Sikh girls from strife-torn Kashmir valley in SGPC-run educational institutions. Besides, an aid of Rs 70 lakh has been extended for the education of children from the Shikligar community in Vijaywada. Displaced Sikh families from Afghanistan have also been given a financial aid of Rs 5 lakh.
Makkar said a number of “sarais” (inns) were being constructed to provide accommodation to devotees. “While three ‘sarais’ are coming up in Amritsar, one each is ready at Anandpur Sahib and Damdama Sahib.” He said a coaching centre for IAS/IPS examination would also come up in Mohali soon.
TV channel warned
The SGPC has warned a private TV channel against naming its soon-to-be-launched soap as “Gurbani”, contending that the move has hurt the religious sentiments of the Sikhs. The committee has written to the channel as well as the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister in this regard.