|Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams|
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (Telugu: తిరుమల తిరుపతి దేవస్థానములు) also referred as TTD is an independent trust which manages the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh. The trust not only oversees the operations and finances of the richest and the most visited religious center in the world, it is also involved in various social, religious, literary and educational activities within Andhra Pradesh and India. TTD employs about 14,000 people to maintain the 12 temples and sub-shrines under its control along with the execution of its social activities.
 Establishment and legislative setting
The Beginning: TTD was established in 1932 as a result of the TTD Act of 1932. According to the act, administration of the temple was vested to a committee of seven members and overseen by a paid commissioner as appointed by the Madras Government. Advising the committee were 2 advisory councils - one comprising of priests and temple administrators to aid the committee with the operations of the Tirumala temple and another comprising of farmers for advise on Tirumala's land and estate transactions. The Act was revolutionary in that no specific qualification for temple administration was laid for the commissioner and the committee members. However the act was limited in scope in temple fund generation and usage for religious purposes.
Madras Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Act (1951) superseded the 1932 act and sections 80 to 85 of the act were devoted to administration of TTD. Section 80 laid that a Board of Trustees consisting of five members as appointed by the Madras state government will look after TTD with the members holding office for five years. The act provided for the appointment of an Executive Officer (EO) who would be responsible for the properties and operations of TTD, custody of records of jewels, estate, money and funds of TTD, arrange and record collection of income and payment of expenses as well as execute activities beyond budget sanctioned by board of trustees if it involved pilgrim safety or service and later justify his actions and obtain approval for his actions. According to section 85 of the Act, TTD was to utilize the funds for maintenance and operations of the temples, educational institutes, hospitals, choultries and rest-houses, veterinary hospital under the devesthanam control. Also provisions for water supply, sanitary arrangements, roads and communications, lighting and electricity were also included. Power to acquire land and immovable property was also added, provided TTD had state government permission. The Act also covered training of priests and religious training under devasthanam. Thus the 1951 Act gave more controls and mechanisms for fund usage.
Andhra Pradesh Charitable and Hindu Religious Institution and Endowments Act (1969) superseded the 1951 act with section 85 to 91 laying the provisions for TTD. Board of Trustees was expanded from five to eleven (11) with compulsory representation from certain communities. Three members from state legislative assembly, one person belonging to the scheduled castes and one woman member was made mandatory in the board of eleven whose term was fixed at three years. AP government was mandated with the appointment of EO and Deputy EO (DEO). Apart from the responsibilities defined in the previous Act, the major addition was that the devasthanam should promote study of Indian languages, should open and operate Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati, should open and operate Hindu Dharma Prathishthanam. The objectives of Hindu Dharma Prathishthanam was promotion and propagation of Hindu Dharma by research, teaching, training and literature creation. Thus this Act was an improvement because of the 2 reason - inclusion of minority interests in the board of trustees as well as broadening the scope of the devasthanams to include study and dissemination of religious practices and knowledge.
TTD Act (1979): Though the previous Act was path-breaking, it ended up making TTD equivalent to smaller temples in the state and the 1979 Act rectified this issue. The rank of EO was defined and additional posts of Financial Adviser and Chief Accounts Officer (CAO) created. The Act further broadened the scope of Sri Venkateswara Sishatachara Vidya Samstha (renamed from Hindu Dharma Prathishthanam) to include promotion of Hindu culture. A.P.Charitable & Hindu Religious Institutions & Endowments Act (1987) superseded the 1979 Act. The Board of Trustees was expanded from a maximum of eleven to fifteen while retaining previous minority and legislative representation (Section 96). The most controversial clause in the Act was abolishment of hereditary rights of temple priests as well as limited right to garner a share of the hundi proceeds.
After increased pressure from the priests over a long period of time, the AP government made an amendment to the Act in 2006 to discontinue these 2 controversial clauses.
 Current TTD officers
Chairman, Board of Trustees: B. Karunakar Reddy Executive Offier (EO): KV Ramanachari I.A.S.(April 2007 - ) succeding A.P.V.N. Sarma I.A.S. (February 2005 - April 2007) TTD Board of Trustees: B. Karunkar Reddy, KV Ramanachari, Janga Krishnamurthy (AP MLA), P. Sudarshan Reddy (AP MLA), N. Subramanyam (AP MLA), N. Srinivasan, R.P. Goenka, Vijay Sai Reddy, O.V Ramana, Gokaraju Ramaraju, Dr. Chadalawada Sudha, T. Indira, Dr. I.V.Subba Rao I.A.S., P. Sundara Kumar I.A.S.
TTD provides the following services for pilgrims to Tirumala and Tirupati.
TTD has various schemes where devotees can fund part of the spending on social causes.
Making the Donation: Minimum donation for schemes is Rs. 1000 and multiples thereof. The donation can be made by cheque or demand draft drawn on scheduled bank in the name of 'The Executive Officer, name of scheme '. The cheque/demand draft has to be sent to ' The Secretary, <name of scheme>, Office of the Chief Engineer, TTD, Tirupati 517 501.
 Donor benefits
High value donors are classified under 3 categories and TTD provides uniform privileges to these donors. In addition, there might be privileges specific to each of the above schemes.
 Cottages donation
TTD constructs cottages, guest houses, and choultries in Tirumala and donors can donate for the same. Enquiry needs to be made in Tirumala Information Center about current projects. TTD is also currently accepting donations for building choultries in Tirupati under Sri Sreenivasam Complex Donation Scheme.
Apart from the common benefits mentioned above for the appropriate sum, the donor can stay for a period of 30 days in a calender year (not exceeding 10 days at a time). A tablet with donor's name and place is mentioned in front of the cottage. However donations are not entitled to Income tax exemption. The privileges apply during the life time of the donor or 20 years in case of companies.
For information related to the schemes, visit the website of TTD
 Education and research
TTD runs separate degree colleges, junior colleges and high schools for boys and girls, in and around Tirupati. It started with the establishment of Hindu High School in Vellore by Hathiramjee Mutt. TTD also runs a prestigious college in India's capital.
 Library and Research Centre
Sri Venkateswara Central Library and Research Centre (SVCLRC), established by TTD in 1993, houses approximately 40,000 volumes of rare and valuable books, mainly on religion and philosophy. The Research Wing works towards studying and publishing material related to Hindu religion, produce authentic papers on original Sanskrit texts and provide translations of major Hindu works in regional languages, Hindi and English.
 Promotion of Hindu religion
TTD is promoting Hindu mass marriages, the trend it started in 2007. The IIIrd Phase of Kalyanamastu is scheduled for March 9, 2008.
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