For the first time since 1984, the Golden Temple has been authorised to receive foreign donations by the Union government. Sources said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has opened foreign donations for the Golden Temple for the next 5 years.
Foreign funding for the Golden Temple was barred after Operation Blue Star. Former SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra was first to raise this issue, and recently the SGPC had again taken up the matter in May this year.
“Incumbent president Gobind Singh Longowal raised this issue with Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah over the past two years to demand opening of foreign donations for the Golden Temple. It was a long pending demand. There was no reason behind the blocking of funding to the Golden Temple, which spends a big amount on the humanitarian work and running a free kitchen. Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal also played a role in convincing the Union government to open the funding,” said an SGPC official.
The possibility of foreign donation is big relief for SGPC. Especially when offerings at Golden Temple has been hit due to Covid-19. Golden Temple spends annually more than Rs 40 crore on running a kitchen which is free for all. Donations to the Golden Temple, which crossed Rs 250 crore last year, are the main income of the SGPC to run its functions.