Hectic lobbying is on for the coveted Rajyotsava award. And, like last year, the government has decided to present the award to only 50 individuals.
Speaking to The Hindu, B. Basavaraj, Secretary, Department of Kannada and Culture, said aspirants have sent their applications both to the Department of Kannada and Culture and various cultural academies. He added that the department has received over 1,500 applications. After processing them, a list of probable candidates for the award has been prepared.
An 18-member committee headed by Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar met here on Thursday to select the awardees. Deputy Chief Ministers R. Ashok and K.S. Eshwarappa, Minister for Kannada and Culture Govind Karjol, Minister for Water Resources Basavaraj Bommai, Minister for Energy Shobha Karandlaje, Chairpersons of the Kannada Development Authority and Kannada Book Authority Mukhyamanthri Chandru and Siddalingaiah respectively, and chairpersons of various academies are members of the committee.
Mr. Basavaraj said that like last year, it has been decided to restrict the number of awardees to 50. “The selection process is on and committee members have made their recommendations. Consultations will continue on Friday also”, he added.
The award comprises a purse of Rs. 1 lakh and a gold medal weighing 20 gm.
In the past, the government was criticised for giving away the award to as many as 150 persons. So, the former Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda restricted the number of Rajyotsava awardees to 50 last year.
Besides restricting the number of awardees to 50, sources claim that a few committee members have suggested reducing the cash prize and reducing the weight of the medal. However, Mr. Basavaraj clarified that none of the members had broached the idea of cutting down the expenditure on Rajyotsava Awards in view of drought in the State.