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In a first, SGPC annual budget estimates shortfall in revenue

The SGPC has calculated the deduction of more than 18 per cent in comparison to last year’s budget due to recession caused by Covid-19.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar | Updated: September 29, 2020 11:39:50 am
SGPC, SGPC Budget, Gobind Singh Longowal, SGPC HouseSGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal announces the 2020-21 Budget at the SGPC complex in Amritsar on Monday. Express Photo: Rana Simranjit Singh

The SGPC House passed an annual budget of Rs. 981 crore on Monday.

The budget session is usually held at March-end every year, however, it was held with delay of six months due to Covid-19.

The SGPC has calculated the deduction of more than 18 per cent in comparison to last year’s budget due to recession caused by Covid-19.
It is first time when the SGPC has presented a budget with estimates of deduction. Otherwise, SGPC aims for at least five per cent increase in annual budget every year.

The Sikh body had passed budget of Rs. 1205 crore for 2019-20 against Rs. 981 crore for financial year 2020-21.

Income from gurdwaras under section 85 is key for SGPC to run its affairs. However, it is expecting an income of Rs. 483 crore against an expenditure of Rs. 577 crore in the accounts of gurdwaras.

The difference between income and expenditure will be accommodated by drawing Rs. 94 crore from pervious year’s savings.

SGPC has estimated the spending of around Rs. 44.13 crore on the community kitchen of gurdwaras under Section 85. The expenditure of salaries of employees working in community kitchen is not included in the SGPC budget.

Coronavirus has led to economic recession all over the world and it has also impacted the income of the gurdwaras. The restrictions of Health Department have affected the arrival of sangat at gurdwara and we are not hoping for an increase in arrival of Sangat in the near future. That is the reason that we have a try to control the unnecessary expenditures,” said SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal.

In comparison to pervious financial year, SGPC reduced general board fund from Rs. 72. 50 crore to 57 crore, trust funds from Rs. 50.60 crore to Rs. 37.61 crore and education fund from Rs. 37.40 crore to Rs. 28.44 crore.

This year Dharam Parchar Committee will also get only Rs. 58 crore against Rs. 84 crore sanctioned for 2019-20.

The education institutes of the SGPC are already in poor shape and total budget of these institutes has been calculated at around Rs. 215 crore for this financial year. These Rs. 215 crore is total in-house budget of the education institutes that SGPC include in its own annual budget.

Uproar over missing Birs

Over the issue of missing Birs of Guru Granth Sahib, there was uproar in the SGPC House as many members started accusing SGPC president of sheltering the accused. They also demanded resignation of president.

Not only inside the House, Sikh bodies also protested outside the SGPC office over the same issue.

Raising the pitch for the resignation of SGPC head Gobind Singh Longowal, a large number of activists associated with Dal Khalsa and SAD (Amritsar) staged a protest rally outside the SGPC headquarters. Carrying the placards, they asked for the whereabouts of missing 328 saroops.

The protest was led by panthic leaders Harpal Singh Cheema and Emaan Singh Mann. Both the leaders asked Longowal to resign on moral grounds as under him the SGPC had failed to disclose the whereabouts of disappeared saroops. Protesters led by another leader, Kanwar Pal Singh, handed over a questionnaire to SGPC members “aimed to awaken their conscience and make them accountable before the Panth”.

Activists of SAD (Democratic), Akal Federation and Sikh Youth of Punjab also joined the protest.

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