Special amount earmarked for religious preaching, education and Panthic works: Harjinder Singh Dhami

Amritsar, March 29-

During today’s general house budget session of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a budget of about Rs 1260.97 crore was passed for the year 2024-25. In this session held in the presence of Sri Guru Granth Sahib at the Teja Singh Samari Hall in the SGPC office, SGPC general secretary Bhai Rajinder Singh Mehta presented the budget, which was approved by the members amid the resonance of Sikh victory slogans.

The budget session was attended by Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht Sahib Giani Raghbir Singh, Jathedar of Takht Sri Kesgarh Sahib Giani Sultan Singh, Jathedar of Takht Sri Damdama Sahib Giani Harpreet Singh, SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami and the SGPC members. While presenting the budget, General Secretary Bhai Rajinder Singh Mehta shared the details of the income and expenditure for various departments and institutions of the SGPC and presented the data about the amount secured for the works to be done on a priority basis in the future.

Sharing information with the media after the budget session, SGPC President Harjinder Singh Dhami termed the budget presented by General Secretary Bhai Rajinder Singh Mehta as balanced. He said that this year’s budget has recorded an increase of 14% compared to the previous year.

The SGPC President said that especially during this financial year priority will be given to religious preaching, education, and Panthic works. He said that this time the budget of Dharam Prachar Committee is Rs 100 crore. Giving the details of the amount reserved for the works to be done through the Dharam Prachar Committee, Harjinder Singh Dhami said that Rs 3 crore is specially reserved for marking the coming centenary of the 450th Joti Jot Diwas of Sri Guru Amardas in September. He said Rs 2 crore is kept for preparing Sikh youths for administrative services, Rs 2 crore for free education for Amritdhari girls, Rs 2.50 for fees of Amritdhari students, Rs 1.80 crore for Amrit Sanchar events, Rs 4.45 crore for religious literature, libraries, Sikh martial art education, historical memorial projects and showing religious films through video vans to Sangat, Rs 1.15 crore for intensifying religious preaching campaign, Rs 1.60 for connecting children with Gurmat (teachings of Sikh Gurus) through religious examination, and Rs 9 crore for Sikh missions outside Punjab. Similarly, a special provision has been made in the budget for other functions of the Dharam Prachar Committee.

Harjinder Singh Dhami said that this time the budget of Gurdwaras is Rs 994.51 crore. Similarly, the budget of educational institutions is Rs 251 crore, and the budget of printing presses is Rs 7.94 crore. He specifically mentioned that in this year’s budget, a special arrangement has been made for the outstanding salaries of the staff of educational institutions. He said that a special arrangement is made for the payment of all outstanding salaries till 31 March 2024. A special amount of Rs 10 crore has been reserved for the Education Fund from the General Board Fund for this purpose.

He said that although the income of the General Board Fund, Trust Fund, Education Fund, Sports Fund, etc. is low, dasvandh (10%) and necessary funds are taken from the Gurdwaras for these heads as the work done through all these funds is very important. He said that this time a special amount has been kept for Panthic works through these funds, including Rs 60 lakh for pursuing legal cases of Bandi Singhs (Sikh prisoners), Rs 40 lakh for monthly honorarium to Bandi Singhs, Rs 40 lakh for Dharami Faujis, Rs 60 lakh for Sikligar and Vanjara Sikhs, Rs 50 lakh for poor students, Rs 1.48 crore for natural calamities and Rs 3.60 crore for sports.

Harjinder Singh Dhami said that a special amount has also been set aside for research works through the Sikh Itihas Research Board. Apart from this, Rs 1.05 crore is kept for Baba Budha Charitable Hospital Bir Sahib. He also specifically mentioned that Rs 8 crore is aside for the Miri Piri Medical College established by the SGPC at Shahbad Markanda in Haryana. He said that although there were many difficulties faced in starting this medical college, it is hoped that it will be able to function properly from next year. He said that necessary machinery and other expenses are being arranged in this regard.

Harjinder Singh Dhami said that the budget of SGPC and its related institutions depends on the money and dasvandh offered by the Sangat as a whole. He said that within very limited resources, the Sikh body does work in the fields of religious preaching, education, health services, humanitarian work, and Panthic welfare. The SGPC is also playing a leading role in the works that fall in the purview of the governments. He clarified that the SGPC budget is less than 1% compared to that of the Punjab government, while some people deliberately create a narrative that the Sikh body’s budget is more than the Punjab government. He expressed commitment that the Sikh organisation will maintain its progress on community issues along with the promotion and preaching of the Sikh faith with the support of Sangat and will be two steps ahead in the work done for the advancement of the community.

During the budget session, SGPC executive members Gurpreet Singh Jhabbar, members Baba Gurpreet Singh Randhawa, Balwinder Singh Bains, and Sukhharpreet Singh Rode also addressed the gathering. Proceedings of the sessions were carried on by SGPC secretary Partap Singh. Giani Sultan Singh offered Ardas (Sikh prayer) while Giani Raghbir Singh recited the holy hukamnama.