Karnataka is set to become the third state in the country to launch an online integrated temple management system (ITMS) after Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The Karnataka endowments department has developed a mobile application that will provide details of temples, including their history, rituals, pooja rates, route maps to reach among others.
Minister for Muzrai, Haj and Wakf Shashikala Jolle told The Indian Express, “there are 34,559 temples under the department. Many temples have their history and other information available online. Hence we decided to consolidate all the information and provide that on the ITMS mobile app.”
The department will also provide details of properties owned by temples in the app, which is expected to be released in November.
“The app will be available soon in the first phase where around 207 temples that come under category A temples would be added to the app. The devotees can also donate money to the temple through the app,” she added.
In another development, the government has decided to pay the salaries of priests and staff in the temples as per sixth pay commission recommendations to select Muzrai temples.
“A total of 34,563 temples in the state come under the department and they have been categorised under A, B and C, based on their revenue generation. A total of 207 temples with annual revenue above Rs 25 lakh come under category A, 139 temples with revenue between Rs five lakh and Rs 25 lakh come under category B, and 34,217 temples with less than Rs 5 lakh annual revenue fall under category C,” the minister said.
Noting that 1,034 priests and staff are currently getting salaries under the fifth pay commission, she said that implementation of the sixth pay commission will not put an extra financial burden on the government, as up to 35 per cent of the revenue from the A and B category temples will be utilised for this purpose.
“The new salary implementation is only for those A and B category temples, whose revenue generation is good and where fifth pay commission is already implemented. It is not for grade C temples, whose financial condition is not good and needs improvement… Also most staff there are not permanent,” she added.
Also, an insurance programme is being introduced for priests and employees working at Muzrai temples, Jolle said. “As the first step, the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana will be extended to them by filing an annual premium of Rs 330, which may cost Rs 1.22 crore to the government, and the chief minister has agreed to it,” she said.
Further, health and life, accident insurance for the Muzrai priests, staff and their family members is being worked out, she said, adding that the department has sought quotations from insurance companies and banks and it will be finalised. “This will apply to staff and priests of all A, B and C category temples.”