The Tamil Nadu government has ordered that gold that has been donated, apart from those used during rituals, shall be deposited to bank and the interest earned be utilised for development initiatives of shrines, reports Financial Express.
The development was announced by Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister P K Sekar Babu on Saturday in the state assembly.
He stated that as many as 10,000 personnel would be recruited to provide security for temples across the state.
“As many as 10,000 personnel would be recruited to provide security for temples and donations of gold, barring those needed for worship, shall be deposited in banks and the interest earned utilised for development initiatives of shrines," Babu said.
He also stated that a monthly incentive of Rs 1,000 would be provided to priests serving in 12,959 temples covered under a scheme that ensures pooja for a single time in a day and an allocation of Rs 13 crore shall be made.
The annoucement comes against the backdrop of ancient idols and precious items owned by temples getting stolen in the past. Multiple idols were smuggled out of the country from various temples, and several of them have been brought back in recent years.
He stated that barring those needed for worship, all other types of gold received as donation over the past 10 years would be melted in the Mumbai based Central government Mint. These bars would then be deposited in in banks and the interest earned would be used for “Tiruppani” (development initiatives) purposes.