World’s Richest Temple, Tirumala Sri Venkateswara temple struggles to pay staff salaries



As the Tirupati Venkateswara Temple remains closed for over 50 days in the wake of COVID-19 spread in the country, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has lost Rs 400 crore of revenue. The temple that attracts 80,000 to 100,000 devotees daily, has not seen a single devotee for about two months due to which its revenue has hit the rock bottom.

The temple trust is running out of money and it does not have enough cash either to pay salaries to its staff or to meet the daily expenses.

The world’s richest trust has spent around Rs 300 crore on paying salaries, pensions, and other fixed expenses already. It is now finding ways to resolve the crisis “without having to touch” its eight tonnes of gold reserve and Rs 14,000 crore fixed deposits.

TTD chairman YV Subba Reddy said, ‘‘TTD is obligated to pay salaries and pensions and has a set of other fixed expenses which it has to incur irrespective of its revenues hitting rock bottom. TTD has a fixed annual expenditure of nearly Rs 2,500 crore under different heads.”

Usually, the TTD trust’s average monthly income used to stand around Rs 200-220 crore while post-lockdown, the temple has raised no revenue as the its has been closed to devotees.

Despite no pilgrims, all daily and weekly rituals along with the festivals are being observed as per the prescribed agamas, without any deviations.

For the financial year 2020-21, the Tirumala Tirupati temple trust has decided on an annual budget of Rs 3,309.89 crore. After the closure of the Tirupati temple for devotees, the trust has suffered an estimated loss in hundi collections alone of Rs 150-175 crore.

Besides that, the trust witnessed a dip in the sale of darshan tickets and arjitha sevas, prasadams, accommodation, and donations.

With salary and other allowances for 2020-21 pegged at Rs 1,385.09 crore, TTD has to shell out approximately Rs 120 crore towards it every month even during the lockdown.

In addition, the TTD has to extend financial support in the form of grants of nearly 400 crore to SVIMS, BIRRD, and other healthcare institutions run by it.