NEW DELHI: The interests of artistes from across states should be protected when it came to granting fellowships, scholarships, grants, and pensions by the Ministry of Culture, said a parliamentary standing committee report. The report also raised its eyebrows on the non-utilisation of funds and said it reflects poorly on the ministry.
Non-utilisation of funds, delay in finalising proposals not only reflects poorly on the ministry’s functioning but also in creating the cultural infrastructure in the country, it said. The committee recommended it should be apprised of the reasons for under-utilisation of funds.
The panel said there was no room for a few states-centric selections of artistes so that the vast cultural diversity can be protected. There should be a mechanism to ensure minimum representation of artists and organisations from all states, including a mechanism to bring an upper limit of representation from an individual state may also be set, it recommended.
The selection process for grants should be transparent and free from ‘manipulation’ and ‘favouritism’, it reiterated. There is a need for the ministry to raise awareness of the schemes it offers for fellowships, grants and pensions to artistes, especially in the country’s remote areas, it said.
With art and culture often getting neglected, the committee recommended more artises in the fields of music, drama and dance should be given benefits of the scheme. It sought information on the status of state-wise representation in the various schemes so that they can rap states which show a lack of interest in the ministry’s schemes.
It also pulled up the ministry for the delay in reconstituting an expert committee for the scheme of safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage and diverse cultural traditions and sought details on the financial performance of the scheme this year.
The ministry lacked effort to contain frauds, said the panel. Software solutions should be developed to curb the possibility of fraud and employees involved in disbursement of the scheme funds should be well trained, it added.