Despite seeing a massive boost in revenue collection in the form of cash dropped into ‘hundis’ by pilgrims after demonetization, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) is planning to go the digital way.
The TTD is also phasing out the usage of demonetized notes in the temple town.
Already, other transactions beside the hundi in the Sri Venakateswara Temple in Tirumala, like payments for pujas, accommodation and worship are only being validated by the new currency notes.
Speaking to TNM, an official said, “The temple board has also set up debit and credit card machines for all services provided in Tirupati and also some services on top of the hill. Many devotees have Rs 2,000 notes and we are finding it tough to keep distributing change. Therefore, we are trying to make all transactions cashless, as much as possible.”
“However, since there are many devotees who can only afford to deal in cash, we will also take them into consideration,” he added.
This comes shortly after TTD Joint Executive Officer (JEO) KS Srinivasa Raju had instructed officials to set up Electronic Point Of Sale (E-PoS) machines at all business areas.
“Whether it is cottage allotment, laddu sale or the sale points of TTD calendars and diaries, the card reading machines should be compulsorily made available.
The intention behind the move is to ease the difficulties of the pilgrims arising out of the reported shortage of the lower denomination currency,” he was quoted as saying.
According to reports, the TTD has also approached Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to achieve this goal.
“In order to hold accountability and ease day-to-day transactions, the TTD Board has made arrangements for e-donations, e-hundi, e-publications, e-challan, e-darshan, e-accommodation and e-seva,” an official told the Financial Express.
Meanwhile, a TTD board member told the newspaper, “The online booking, arjitha seva tickets, accommodation, e-hundi, demat, e-books are just a few to mention. But still there is a long way to go and need to integrate the system by developing a next generation application.”
The TTD, which manages the richest Hindu temple in the world, has stated that it clocks around 1 lakh visitors on a daily basis, and a Hundi collection of nearly Rs 1.5 to Rs 2 crore every day.
It is also interesting to note, that the collection figure went up after Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were made illegal tender.
Reports add that 5.13 lakh pilgrims visited in the eight days that followed demonetization, and the hundi registered a whopping Rs 22.9 crore.
The TTD had also said that it was depositing all the old notes it received, in banks, as the government stated that the cash deposited from offerings made by devotees at temples would not be taxed.
Temple officials had, before demonetization, told IANS that the hundi collection this year was expected to be around Rs 1,000 crore, but it may have easily crossed the mark after demonetization.
Speaking to The Hans India, TTD executive officer D Sambasiva Rao stated that provision of accommodation facilities, including the massive pilgrim complexes in Sreenivasam and Vishnu Nivasam with 2,000 rooms, will also go online soon.