In a bid to support temple workers and priests during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, the Tamil Nadu government has announced a cash assistance of Rs 4,000 along with 10 kg rice and 15 varieties of dry ration. Minister of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR&CE) department PK Sekar Babu made the announcement on Monday and also confirmed that 14,000 workers will be benefitted by the decision.
As per the official sources, in 36,000 temples in Tamil Nadu under the HR&CE department; as many as 34,000 temples (pit of 36,000) have revenue less than Rs 10,000 a year. Priests in many of these temples and other workers do not receive a steady income. Besides this, as devotees are prohibited from going to religious places including temples owing to COVID-19 crisis; the priests and workers are reeling under severe economic crisis, said the press note put out by the HR&CE minister.
Following demands from priests and workers, Chief Minister MK Stalin had ordered Rs 4,000 as cash assistance along with 10kg rice and 15 varieties of groceries.
The order is said to be implemented from June 3, the birth anniversary of former CM M Karunanidhi and nearly 14,000 temple workers and priests are set to benefit from the move, added sources.
Meanwhile, in April 2020 the previous Tamil Nadu government under the HR&CE department provided financial assistance of Rs 1,000 to the staff and priests of village temples in districts of Tamil Nadu as part of financial assistance.