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Business News/ News / India/  Karnataka temple bill passed—Know features, controversies, revenue collection system | Explainer

Karnataka temple bill passed—Know features, controversies, revenue collection system | Explainer

What is Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2024? What are the controversies around it? What is the temple revenue collection system in other Indian states? Here's an explainer

Udupi Srikrishna Temple in KarnatakaPremium
Udupi Srikrishna Temple in Karnataka

Karnataka Cabinet on Friday passed the controversial 'Temple Bill', it will now be sent to the governor for his assent, following which it will become law. Siddaramaiah-led Congress government tabled the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2024 on 21 February and was passed in the Vidhan Sabha. However, on 23 February the proposed bill was defeated by a voice vote in the upper house where the opposition has a majority.

Karnataka's Temple Bill was reconsidered and it has now received the green light in both Assembly and Legislative Council.

Karnataka temple tax row: CM Siddaramaiah snubs BJP, explains new rule

The council passed the bill it had rejected last week amidst a din, as opposition BJP and JD(S) members protested in the house against the government over the alleged pro-Pakistan slogans chanted in the assembly.

What is Karnataka's Temple Bill?

The Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2024 proposes to collect 5% from temples whose gross income is between 10 lakh and less than one crore. And, for temples whose annual income is above 1 crore, the state government will collect 10% of the funds. These funds will be put into a Common Pool Fund, administered by 'Rajya Dharmika Parishath'.

The Common Pool Fund is proposed to be used for the welfare of archakas/priests (like insurance cover, death relief fund, and scholarship to children from families of around 40,000 priests and other employees) and the upkeep of 'C' category temples (state-controlled) whose annual income is less than 5 lakh.

Karnataka: Siddaramaiah govt's temple tax bill defeated. 10 points

The Department of Religious and Charitable Endowments, popularly known as the Muzrai department administers about 35,000 Hindu religious institutions which receive grants from the Government of Karnataka.

What is the controversy?

The opposition- Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Janata Dal (Secular) have called the bill anti-Hindu. They argue that the Congress government in Karnataka was trying to fill its "empty coffers" with temple money. Some opposition leaders also said that the Siddaramaiah government would divert the revenue from temples to other religions.

However, Minister of Muzrai Ramalinga Reddy said that BJP was "politicising" the bill by linking it with "communal theory".

Previously, temples with annual income between 5 lakh and 10 lakh used to give 5% of their net income to the Common Pool Fund, and temples with an annual income of over 10 lakh used to give 10% of the net income into the fund.

Temple revenue collection system in other states

In Telangana, religious institutions making more than 50,000 annually are required to pay 1.5% of their annual income to the state government.

In Kerala, temples are managed by state-run Devaswom (temple) Boards.

In Uttarkahnd, 51 temples and shrines including Badrinath, Kedarnath, Yamunotri, and Gangotri were freed from the state government's control in 2021.

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Published: 01 Mar 2024, 02:16 PM IST
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