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SGPC’s Rs1,106-Crore Budget Focuses On Youth, Sikh Education

AMRITSAR – With focus on promoting education and Sikh religion and its values, the SGPC today passed Rs 1,106.59-crore budget for 2017-18 fiscal year at its general house here today.

It witnessed a raise of 8.65 per cent (Rs 88.1 crore) as compared to last year despite demonetisation denting gurdwaras’ donation.

During 2016-2017, the proposed budget was Rs 1,064.14 crore, but only Rs 1,018.49 crore could be spared as the apex body-run gurdwaras witnessed a decline in donation due to demonetisation, an official said.

It was also for the first time since 2011 that the general house was conducted in the presence of Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh and Takht Damdama Sahib Jathedar Giani Gurmukh Singh.

Earlier due to Sehajdhari Sikhs’ voting rights row pending with legal implications, the SGPC’s 2010 executive body, endorsed by the court, used to announce the budget till last year. Now, as this bar is obsolete, the budget was presented by SGPC general secretary Amarjit Singh Chawla.

The focus has primarily been kept on catching the Sikh youth’s fancy towards Sikh ethics and nurturing their career in academics, sports, civil, defence and other professional arena. It has been decided to make Sikh education compulsory in its primary-level schools (Classes I to V).

A separate head of Rs 33 crore has been kept reserve under the education fund.

For education, the SGPC has announced Rs 227 crore for elevating the standard of studies at its 88 institutes. Last year, just Rs 204 crore could be spared.

To bring the youth in the mainstream without compromising on the Sikh principles, a special training school has been started at Jathedar Gurcharan Singh Tohra Institute of Advance Studies in Sikhism, Patiala.

Similarly, a separate sports department has been proposed to be set up to promote sports in schools and colleges.

Sikh students, who excel in the field of sports, agriculture, science and other research fields at national and international levels, will be honoured with Rs 1 lakh each, along with certificates in special programmes.

Those who successfully qualify the IAS/IPS will be presented cash reward of Rs 1 lakh and PCS will get Rs 75,000. Special scholarship provision of Rs 51,000 each has been decided to be given to Sikh students who grab first 20 positions in the school Education Board exam.

Similarly, Rs 4.5 crore has been proposed for Guru Granth Sahib World University, Fatehgarh Sahib. The SGPC has set up preparatory schools for civil services and armed forces at Fatehgarh Sahib. A sum of Rs 1.5 crore has been spared for the Armed Force Training Academy at Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College.

On the social front, the committee has announced Rs 9 crore to help cancer patients from its trust funds.

To help deserving “baptised” Sikh students in their education, annual scholarship of Rs 2,000 has been kept for primary-level students, Rs 3,000 for Class X and Rs 4,000 for Class XII students.

An amount of Rs 1.63 crore has been proposed for the same.

Out of general fund of Rs 64 crore, Rs 6 crore has been spared for Miri Piri Medical Sciences and Research College, Shahbad (Haryana), which is expected to start by 2018.

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