TIRUPATI: Sharp rise in expenditure on human resources during the last five years, coupled with decline in revenues from hundi, capital and interest receipts, apart from fall in corpus and investments, have had a severe financial impact on Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD).
The richest temple body has approved its budget estimate of Rs. 2,937.82 crore for 2021–22 financial year. It has based this on expected income of Rs. 1,131 crore from hundi and other capital receipts, which are its major sources of revenue. However, the major outgo on establishment and human resource payments, including wages of employees, is estimated to be Rs. 1,308.15 crore.
A comparison of hundi, capital receipts and other sources of income with major spending on human resources is presenting a threatening picture for the temple body. Top-level administration may need to take a closer look at ever-increasing salaries and other benefits extended to its employees year on year.
A closer look at budget estimates presented by TTD Board shows that revenue from hundi has risen approximately by Rs. 300 crore in the last five years (2016–17 to 2020–21). But payments for human resources have gone up sharply by Rs. 600–700 crore. There is a two-fold difference between income and outgo.
Hundi revenue has increased from Rs. 1,010 crore (2016) to Rs. 1,351 crore (2019), a sharp rise of Rs. 341 crore. The hundi estimates for 2021–22 fiscal have slightly decreased to Rs. 1,131 crore. The dip has been linked to Coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Human resource payments, which stood at nearly Rs. 500–575 crore in 2016–17, have, however, gone up to Rs. 1,238.60 crore, in addition to Rs. 75 crore towards pension fund contribution in the revised 2020–21 budget. TTD has estimated that it will have to spend Rs. 1,305.15 crore towards human resources in 2021–22 fiscal, which is a rise by nearly Rs. 730 crore. This apart, Rs. 75 crore has been allocated towards employees’ pension fund.
The estimated spending on corpus and other investments is also dipping since the past six to seven years. The share of corpus and investments in 2014–15 was Rs. 969 crore. It dipped to Rs. 783 crore in 2015–16, Rs. 475 crore in 2016–17, Rs. 86 crore in 2018–19, Rs. 165.42 crore in 2019–20 and Rs. 150 crore in 2020–21.
Interest received on these investments, which is the second major source of income for TTD, is thus dipping. In 2020–21 fiscal, revenue from interest receipts has been Rs. 738.18 crore, as against Rs. 857.28 in 2019–20 fiscal. The decline in interest receipts is because of TTD choosing to deposit its corpus funds in nationalised banks, which offer lower interest rates compared to private banks.
“When temple management tried to park its corpus funds in private banks in the past to generate more interests, many circles opposed the move. This forced TTD to drop its plan. This has cost the TTD dear. Revenues through interest receipts have dipped from Rs. 857.28 crore in 2019–20 to Rs. 738.18 crore in 2020–21 and Rs. 533.10 crore in 2021–2022 (estimated),” a senior official disclosed....