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Why not put the temple wealth to good use?

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Economy

What should India, rising but still plagued by poverty, do with a newly discovered treasure of gold coins, statues and jewels in the vault of a Hindu temple, valued at about $22 billion? Suggestions are pouring in from across the country and the world. Some say it should be used to establish universities and colleges. The man who brought the court case that resulted in the unveiling of the treasure wants it handed over to the Kerala state government. Others want a new subway system. Click here for more on that from Denver Post.

Senior Advocate, Mr K K Venugopal, representing the royal family, suggested the money could be used for opening a `ved pathsala' (school for study in ancient scriptures), training of pujaris and supporting other temples which are not as wealthy as Sree Swami Padmanbhaswamy temple.

For the full text of that report in the ToI, click here.

There is speculation that there are large caches of wealth even in the temples of Karnataka, like in Udupi, Mookambika, etc, though of course they may not compare in magnitude with the ones in Thiruvananthapuram.

Now, rather than just preserving these treasures, or pursuing some limited activity like the Ved Pathsala, etc, why not use them to pursue key infrastructure projects/ services, such as public bus transport, power distribution, water supply, solid waste disposal, effluent treatment and disposal, district hospitals management, Sabarimala and Guruvayoor temple pilgrimage facilities management, etc, on a social entrepreneurship basis? These have all so far been the monopoly domains of the government, and they have repeatedly been found wanting in capacity to meet the rapidly growing demand. For this, the temple management trusts could be made more broad-based to include retired and serving professionals of eminence, and executed by a professional team under a CEO.

I am sure such pursuits will have the fullest blessings of Lord Padmanabha.

Muralidhar Rao

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murali772's picture

'Sterling' example

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Given the one-way flow of gold over the centuries, a staggering amount has accumulated in India. The World Gold Council estimates it to be over 20,000 tonnes, worth $1.1 trillion or half of India’s GDP. For years economists have wanted to use this unproductive asset for productive investment. And happily, the process has begun. Gold loans, bonds, and deposit schemes are all steps in the right direction. In these schemes owners of gold earn interest by depositing it with banks, which in turn releases part of it in the market, thus reducing India’s demand for imported gold.

The bigger prize is to convince temples to do the right thing and deposit their vast gold stocks in banks and earn interest. Jamal Mecklai, the currency expert, had suggested earlier this year that if Tirupati temple were to deposit a third of its holdings at two per cent interest, it could earn Rs 3,000 crore a year. Tirupati did just that in May, beginning with a 2,250-kg deposit with the State Bank of India. This is a triumph! If major temples follow suit, gold will soon flood the domestic market, imports will stop, the global gold price will fall and the rupee will strengthen.


For the full text of the blog in the SToI by Gurcharan Das, click here

Now, shouldn't this be what the Kerala temples, starting with the Padmanabhaswamy kshteram, too, being doing?

Muralidhar Rao
murali772's picture

How NRK deposits could transform the state economy

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The NRI deposits in Kerala, accounting for 30 per cent of the total deposits, are set to cross the Rs 1-trillion mark as rupee plunged to a 13-month low earlier this week, resulting in increased remittances. With nearly two million Malayalees working abroad, Kerala is one of the top beneficiaries of remittances along with Gujarat and Punjab. NRI deposits into banks in Kerala have been steadily rising in the last few quarters. The NRI deposits for the July-September quarter stood at Rs 97,466.04 crore, a 3.7 per cent rise from Rs 94,097.89 crore in April-June. - - - Because, the credit deposit ratio of Kerala that increased from 68.66 per cent to 69.83 per cent is way below the national average of 75 per cent. A minimum of 70 per cent CD ratio would contribute to the growth of Kerala, it is reckoned. It’s not as if the government has no history of thinking out of the box. When it decided to build the Cochin International Airport Ltd, it was innovative enough to push a unique private-public shareholder participation, with some big ticket NRKs taking equity participation. The Kerala government has no reason to continue being cash-strapped as around two million Malayalees working abroad are waiting to be tapped.
 
For the full text of the editorial piece in the New Indian Express, click here
 
The state is badly lacking in good leadership. Perhaps, it needs a Devendra Fadnavis, Manohar Parrikar, or a Suresh Prabhu
 
Muralidhar Rao

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