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Gods too feel the interest rate pinch
K Ram Kumar in Mumbai | May 08, 2004 09:24 IST
If you think that only the common man is suffering in a low interest regime, think again. Even the gods are feeling the pinch.
The conservative Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam trust in Andhra Pradesh, accountants to perhaps the richest God in the country, is examining investment avenues to get that little extra.
The trust, which has a corpus of about Rs 2,000 crore (Rs 20 billion) parked mostly in fixed deposits with commercial banks, does not want to be adventurous by putting money directly into stocks. But the trust is not ruling out parking its ever-bloating kitty in mutual funds.
"If at least a portion of the money is invested in the gilt schemes of mutual funds, it will boost returns," said a source familiar with the development.
The investment committee of the trust will take a decision on this soon.
The annual income of the trust is above Rs 530 crore (Rs 5.3 billion). By contrast, the Ramkrishna Mission's annual income last year was around Rs 150 crore (Rs 1.5 billion).
Hundi collections (cash donation by devotees) account for roughly one-third of the Tirupati trust's income. It also earns substantial money from the sale of human hair (offered by devotees) and laddoos, apart from interest on bank deposits.
Five to six years ago, bulk of the deposits (Rs 15 lakh and above) placed by the trusts with banks fetched them 13-14 per cent returns. These deposits, placed in the late 1990s, are still earning them attractive returns (10-14 per cent).
But the earnings on new deposits are too low to meet the expenditure.