Laxmi Capital News
Income and expenditure of temples opaque OAG

Themanagement of offerings made to temples is not transparent and records of theirincomes and expenditures are not maintained properly, much like in other publicoffices in the country that are not playing it by the book, say governmentauditors. The holy places also do not keep proper records of the offerings(both cash and kind) made by the devotees while there is no formal process oftaking decisions on spending the money received as offerings, according to thefindings of the government's audit agency. 

The first 'in-depth' auditing of the 'books' of total 16temples across the country has also revealed the mismanagement of the assets ofthese temples. The management committees of six temples --
Kakrebihar, Muktinath, Resunga of Gulmi, Bhimeshwar of Dolakha, Bagalamukhi ofLalitpur and Chhinnamasta of Saptari - reported zero income while othersreported their incomes after deducting certain portions of the offerings madeby the devotees to the idols and main temples as the personal incomes of the priests,according to the 55th report of the Office of the Auditor General (OAG)unveiled last week. 

The total income of these famous temples is only Rs 418million even as the income of BauddhanathStupa, which is at the top in terms ofincome, alone, is Rs 314 million, according to the report.

Chief of the Performance Audit Division of OAG,DamodarNeupane says, “The incomes of these temples belong to the state. So, allearnings - both in cash and kind - of these temples and their expendituresshould be recorded in a formal way.” 

Though the system of dropping cash offerings in donationboxes is in place at most of the temples, there is still a common practice ofpocketing the offerings by the priests without keeping any record, according toNeupane. 
The other common problem is only few of these temples got their books auditedin fiscal year 2016/17. Though committees are handling the management of thesetemples, they are not registered with the government agencies concerned. “Theincomes and expenditures of the temples should be maintained properly and theirbooks should be audited regularly,” said Neupane, adding that the incomes oftemples no more should be used as the personal incomes of a few persons. 
There are a total of 799 major temples in 74 districts while the government isyet to determine the number of holy places in the Kathmandu Valley.

Source : My Republica, 16thApril, 2018

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