Tirupati Balaji opens a demat account!

The temple surely knows how to manage its finances (without much external advice). When India was going through a crisis in 2013, someone said that FM should appeal to the mighty temple for help.

And now this bit of news on the almighty temple opening a demat account. For what? So that it can receive donations in shares as well!

India’s richest shrine Tirumala (Tirupati) Balaji temple has opened a Demat account for donations from devotees in the form of shares and securities.This is the first-of-its-kind donation facility in the world. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanasms (TTD) has opened a demat account with the Stock Holding Corporation of India and will accept contributions from devotees and philanthropists in the form of electronically held shares and securities, according to the Hindu.

The idea is to provide all kind of facilities to devotees to offer donations to the temple.

The Tirumala temple had earlier even introduced online donations and donations in the form of foreign currency.PS Reddy, MD and CEO of Central Depositories Service (CDSL), told the Economic Times that the innovative move by TTD was primarily aimed at addressing the hassles pertaining to transferring the physical share certificates. “TTD has been receiving physical share certificates as donations by devotees in its open Hundi, which indicates that devotees are interested in donating shares. However, the quantam of shares and securities was not received.”

Wealthy Hindu temples such as Tirumala are repositories for much of the $1 trillion worth of privately held gold in India – about 22,000 tonnes, according to an estimate from the World Gold Council. In fact, Tirumala alone has gold reserves worth Rs 70,000 crores all in the form of gold biscuits, bricks, statuettes, coins and ornaments. Of this, 80 to 100 kilos of gold is offered by devotees each month.

Last year, a whopping 1,800 kg of gold offerings made by devotees of Lord Venkateswara were deposited by TTD with the State Bank of India (SBI).

Nice bit.

Actually history of Indian finance has been around temples. Temples were the original bankers as people deposited not just denoted money to the temple but even receive loans. The various empires especially those in the south were all centred around temples. There was this relation between the king and the priest with former ruling the region and latter managing other things including financial affairs.

Over the period, banks came over and temples moved to their core spirituality role. But they still remain huge players in finance given the overall nature of temple economics. This entry into demat bit is just one another feather to the cap.

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