Bhopal, Feb 6 (IANS) The newly formed Spirituality Department in Madhya Pradesh has started appointing priests to government-controlled temples.
Preference would be given to candidates from priestly families as well as those trained under the ‘guru-shishya parampara’, an official statement said.
This is the first time norms have been laid down by the government for appointment of priests.
Under the new rules released on Tuesday, the eligible candidate must be at least 18 years old, should have passed Class 8 and completed the course for priesthood.
He must also be a vegetarian, a teetotaller and with no criminal record. Sons of priests will get preference if they meet the eligibility criteria.
It has also been decided that if a temple comes under a shrine traditionally run by a religious group, community or ‘akhada’ with its own priest, then an applicant from the same background under the ‘guru-shishya parampara’ would get preference.
Ancestry of candidates would be considered for appointment of clerics to dargahs, which are overseen by families.
Sub-Divisional Officers (SDM) of the Revenue Department will oversee the appointment process.
The Madhya Pradesh government has already announced a three-fold hike in the Rs 1,000 honorarium given to priests.