Hyderabad: Priests and staff working in temples across the state will get salaries through the treasuries department just as government employees do, from December 1.
Replying to questions raised by members in the Legislative Assembly during Question Hour on Friday, Endowments minister A. Indrakaran Reddy said the government had also increased salaries for priests from Rs 2,500 to Rs 6,000 per month.
The government has identified 4,805 temples to which it will extend financial assistance. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has given the highest priority to development of temples and welfare of priests, the minister said, and paying salaries through the treasuries department is a major milestone that no government in the country has achieved so far.
He said the practice of paying the salaries of priests and staff by temple committees was irregular and often delayed, so now they will receive their salaries in their bank accounts on the first of every month from the government.
The government will also enhance financial assistance to temples that have no income sources under the Dhoopa Deepa Naivedyam scheme, the minister said.
“Previous governments extended just Rs 2,500 to each temple per month, of which Rs 1,000 was given for the scheme and Rs 1,500 as salary of the priest. The TRS government has increased this to Rs 6,000, of which Rs 2,000 is for performing daily rituals to gods and Rs 4,000 towards salary of the priest. We have allocated Rs 34.60 crore for the scheme,” Mr Reddy announced.
Previous governments assisted about Rs 1,805 temples and spent Rs 12.99 crore. The TRS government will assist 4,805 temples at a cost of Rs 34.60 crore.
The government has given Rs 10 lakh for construction of temples in dalit colonies without seeking any contribution from residents or others, Mr Reddy said.