The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Thursday passed Rs 1,064-crore budget for the 2016-17 fiscal with focus on education.
This is Rs 70.90 crore more than the amount the religious body spent in the last fiscal. A major share of the budgetary allocation ---Rs 218.43 crore --- is proposed to be spent on educational institutes. An additional sum of Rs 32.18 crore has been allocated under the education fund head. It will be utilised for providing scholarships to Sikh students studying in SGPC-run institutes.
In the last fiscal year, Rs 182.21 crore were spent on educational institutes while Rs 1 crore was spent under the head education fund.
Presenting the budget, SGPC general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur said the construction of 13 new schools/colleges was started last year. “Some of these schools are ready and will be operational in the new academic year,” he added.
These include Bibi Sharan Kaur Khalsa College, Chamkaur Sahib, Baba Sangat Singh Polytechnic, Banga and Sri Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, Bhagta Bhaike (Bathinda).
The SGPC executive also proposes to spend Rs 104 crore on the upcoming Miri Piri Medical College at Shahbad Markhanda in Haryana..
The religious body proposes to give an assistance of Rs 6 crore to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib World University, Fatehgarh Sahib.
It also plans to open a couple of training academies in Punjab for which funds will be made available from the amount earmarked for educational institutes.
The academies will train and prepare young Sikh boys and girls for taking the civil and defence services examinations.
During the training period, candidates selected through an entrance examination, will be provided free boarding and lodging facilities. The SGPC has taken the step as it feels there has been a marked fall in the number of Sikh candidates clearing the civil or defence service examinations, Bhaur said.
SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar chaired the meeting of the executive, which was specifically called for passing the budget on the last day of the ongoing financial year.
In his speech, Bhaur made it clear that the annual budget of the SGPC is prepared after taking into account its revenue collection of the last fiscal year.
These revenue collection come from gurdwaras where devotees make cash and other offerings, he said, adding that other sources include the annual interest from bank deposits, online offerings or assistance and the revenue collected by giving SGPC properties, including agricultural land, on rent or contract.
Section 85 gurdwara fund
A major portion of the revenue collected from gurdwaras is spent on salaries of its employees and on improving the infrastructure in shrines under the control of the religious body in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh (HP). The salaries are paid and gurdwaras maintained from the funds earmarked under the Gurdwara Sahiban section 85 fund.
Stress on dharam prachar
The SGPC proposes to spend Rs 70 crore in 2016-17 for spread of Sikhism (dharam prachar). This would include organising religious functions in Punjab and other states for creating awareness on Sikhism.
For its printing press, the SGPC has kept aside `8 crore. It is at this press that the Guru Granth Sahib is printed and then the scripture is sent to Sikh shrines in India and abroad.
Total budget Rs 1064.14 cr
General board fund: Rs 61.50 cr
Trust fund: Rs 46.52 cr
Printing press: Rs 8.9 cr
Dharam prachar: Rs 70 cr
Gurdwara Sahiban section 85: Rs 626.91 cr
Educational institutes fund: Rs 218.43 cr
Education fund: Rs 32.18 cr