First time since 1984, Centre allows foreign donations for Golden Temple


New Delhi: For the first time since 1984, the Golden Temple has been allowed to receive foreign donations by the Union government.

Sources said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has opened foreign donations for the Golden Temple for next 5 years.

Foreign funding for the Golden Temple had been barred after Operation Blue Star, an issue that was raised by the SGPC several times with the Centre.

Former SGPC president Gurcharan Singh Tohra was first to raise this, and recently the SGPC had again taken up the matter in May this year.

“Incumbent president Gobind Singh Longowal raised this issue with Union Ministers Rajnath Singh and Amit Shah over the past two years to demand opening of foreign donations for the Golden Temple. It was a long pending demand. There was no reason behind blocking of funding to the Golden Temple, which spends big amount on the humanitarian work and running a free kitchen. Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal also played a role in convincing the Union government to open the funding,” said an SGPC official.

As an institution, the SGPC was never a party in the dispute between Union government and Sikh militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale.

The opening of foreign donation is big relief for SGPC in the year when offerings at Golden Temple has been hit due to Covid-19. Golden Temple spends annually more than Rs 40 crore on running a community kitchen which is free for all. Donations to the Golden Temple, which crossed Rs 250 crore last year, are main income of the SGPC to run its functions with around 12,000 employees.