Effect of coronavirus pandemic
Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) – Apparently faced with a severe liquidity crunch due to a sharp fall in cash offerings by devotees to the Shri Venkateshwara temple on Tirumala, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams on 28th August decided to convert its cash deposits worth over Rs 12,000 crore in various banks into the monthly mode. The monthly interest can be used for paying salaries, bearing the overhead expenses and conducting regular rituals for the Deity.
- A decision to this effect was taken at the TTD trust board meeting held in Tirumala. Hitherto, the TTD had been making cash deposits in the banks quarterly, half-yearly and yearly and getting interest only at the end of the maturity of deposits. TTD trust board chairman Y V Subba Reddy told reporters after the board meeting.
- Interest on deposits Rs 706 crore is the second-highest source of income after the Hundi (cash chest adjacent to the temple where devotees make offering) collections, which are projected at around Rs 1,313 crore in the TTD’s annual budget, which has a total outlay of Rs 3,309 crore.
- The TTD trust board also decided that the Lord’s gold deposits should be converted to long-term deposits from the current short-term, to get more interest. When the RBI brought in gold monetisation scheme in 2015, the TTD deposited 5,387 kgs of gold in State Bank of India, 1,938 kgs in Indian Overseas Bank and 1,381 kgs in PNB. The gold in PNB was withdrawn last year upon maturity and shifted to the SBI.
- The Board also decided that the Brahmotsavams in September would be held in Ekantam (without allowing devotees). Brahmotsavams are one of the biggest celebrations at Tirumala. This is the first time that Brahmotsavams will be celebrated in a simple way for a formality because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The chairman said there would be another Brahmotsavams in October. If the situation improves, devotees may be allowed.