HYDERABAD: Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has been in the news for all the wrong reasons lately-- be it his new Rs 50 crore office-cum-residence complex with noted for the bullet-proof toilet or his recent offerings worth Rs 5.5 crore at the Lord Venkateshwara Temple in Tirupati on Wednesday. The offering was made to keep his vow of doing so if a separate Telangana State was formed.
In an extreme generosity with the taxpayers’ money, the CM donated gold ornaments worth Rs 5.5 crore from the Common Good Fund of the Endowments Department of the Government of Telangana, a fund earmarked for the renovation of dilapidated temples, to Tirupati temple that earned Rs 2,600 crore revenue last year alone and is one of the richest temple in the world.
What is Common Good Fund? Can the public avail funds?
The Common Good Fund is created under Section 70(1) (a) of Endt Act from the contributions made by the Charitable and Hindu Religious Institutions whose annual income exceeds Rs 50,000. They contribute at the rate of 5% of the assessable income of the institutions. The funds are utilised for renovation, preservation, maintenance of Hindu temples in needy circumstances; Dhoopa Deepa Naivedyam to needy temples; establishment and maintenance of Veda Pathasalas, Agama Pathasalas and schools for training in Archakatwam, Adhyapapaktwam etc.
The Common Good Fund Committee has evolved certain guidelines for granting funds to the needy temples such as temples whose gross annual income exceeds Rs 5 lakhs are not eligible for CGF grant. The guidelines also mention that preference will be given to renovation, preservation and maintenance of old temples in rural areas with little resources. Moreover, it is not in the capacity of the head of a secular country to make public money available to any religious institution.
With Telangana reeling under the threat of a third successive drought, several people have raised their eyebrows against the chief minister’s penchant for sprawling residence, vastu-compliant office and bullet-proof toilet among others.