Parliamentary panel flays government's ambitious ‘cultural mapping’ project

Government could not plan and structure programmes effectively which resulted in funds not being utilised for the project, says Derek O’Brien-led panel

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Under the same initiative, the ministry had also planned to hold talent hunts at various levels, covering 6.40 lakh villages over the next two years with a budget of about Rs 470 cr.
New Delhi: The culture ministry’s Rs 500-crore flagship ‘cultural mapping’ programme, aimed at creating a dossier of artists across India, is “unplanned” and “directionless,” the parliamentary panel on culture has said in its report submitted to the house recently.

Noting that committee is “unhappy that culture has not been given due attention, and in fact, totally ignored by the government,” the panel led by TMC MP Derek O’Brien, said “there was a gross under-utilisation of fund allocated to the government’s Cultural Mapping programmes, and that the government could not plan and structure the programmes effectively which resulted in funds not being utilised for the project."

The “cultural mapping” exercise, a pet project of culture minister Mahesh Sharma, started in mid-2017 but piloted two years ago, was aimed at creating a massive database of Indian artists by reaching out to people associated with visual and performing arts from across India, including those from tribal areas.


Under different categories, details of people from creative fields such as artistes, painters, sculptors and writers were registered and the plan was to provide a sepa separate identity card to this category of people, grade them on a national standard scale, link them through their Aadhaar numbers to a separate portal and nominate them for zonal, state, national and international events. A ministry official said artists associated with autonomous bodies such as Lalit Kala Akademi, Sahitya Akademi, Sangeet Natak Akademi, National School of Drama have already been mapped for the programme.

Under the same initiative, the ministry had also planned to hold talent hunts at various levels, covering 6.40 lakh villages over the next two years with a budget of about Rs 470 crore.

Recommending that the ministry needed to monitor each activity under the programme diligently, the committee said cultural mapping should be a dynamic concept that “will help in building better information on the cultural assets in our country.”
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In response to the panel’s criticism, the ministry citing administrative reasons, said, “Recently, the ministry has approved engagement of outsourced persons under Mission secretariat for taking up the activities under the scheme.

Efforts are being made to achieve the objectives of the Mission and to ensure that the funds will be utilised during the FY 2018-19 up to the allocation/scale intended.”
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