Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee passes Rs 993-crore budget
The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) on Monday unanimously passed its budget for 2015-16, earmarking Rs 993.31 crore as expenditure, an increase of Rs 88.17 crore or around 10% over 2014-15 expenditure of Rs 905 crore.
SGPC executive committee general secretary Sukhdev Singh Bhaur presented the budget before the 15-member committee that cleared it after a brief discussion. SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar presided over the meeting.
Of the allocation, Rs 603 crore has been put under the head, ‘Gurdwara Sahib Section 85’, which includes salaries of SGPC employees and expenditure on gurdwaras in other states.
The SGPC proposes to spend around Rs 100 crore on shrines, including the Golden Temple. Of this, Rs 17 crore has been kept for the modernisation and the extension of Guru Ram Dass Langar hall and kitchen in the Golden Temple complex.
For the rest house, another Rs 2.5 crore has been kept this year, with Rs 5 crore to be spent on the beautification of the Clock Tower entrance area.
The SGPC has kept Rs 182 crore, an increase of around 11%, for education and professional institutions that it operates. Sri Guru Granth Sahib World Sikh University at Fatehgarh Sahib will get Rs 8 crore, Rs 5 crore has been kept for the Miri Piri Medical College in Shahbad and Rs 3 crore has been earmarked for the Guru Ram Dass Charitable hospital of the Sri Guru Ram Dass Institute of Medical Sciences and Research.
Sikh students could get scholarships up to Rs 1 crore for studying at Cambridge. For baptised Sikhs students studying in SGPC-run schools, Rs 2 crore will be distributed as scholarships. To train hockey players and sportspersons, Rs 3 crore will be spent.
Budget paased by executive committee
Since 2012, the executive committee of the SGPC has been passing the annual budget, instead of the SGPC general House, as the validity of the September 2011 general elections to the SGPC has been challenged in the Supreme Court by the Sehajdhari Federation.
Sehajdharis are non-Sikhs who practise Sikhism and have been granted voting rights by the Punjab and Haryana high court in SGPC elections.
In its 2011 interim order, the apex court vested all authority — of passing the budget and for taking other decisions — in the executive body that was elected in November 2010. Consequently, annual elections to the executive body have not been held and the 2010 office-bearers and executive members have continued.