The Rashtrapati Bhavan has thrown its doors open for writers, artists and innovation scholars; inviting them to stay and seek inspiration and institutional support for creating their best works yet.

Taking forward his initiative to “open the Rashtrapati Bhavan” to the people, President Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of his birthday on Wednesday announced a 30-day ‘in-residence’ programme for artists, writers and innovation scholars.

The first of its kind programme in Rashtrapati Bhavan will allow artists and writers with an “established track record in the field of art and literature” to stay for a month and be a part of the life of the Estate.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said that the historical building of Rashtrapati Bhavan has been always a subject of curiosity for the public. According to a statement issued by the Presidents’s Secretariat, Mr. Mukherjee said his predecessors like Rajaji and President Rajendra Prasad had taken steps to open up the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the people of India, a tradition that he wants continued.

The ‘in-residence’ programme will help provide a conducive atmosphere for creative minds to reflect and think, and help upcoming writers and artists expand their creative talents, the President is learnt to have said.

Mr. Mukherjee also expressed hope that the programme will contribute to aesthetic as well as social benefit through the art and literature that is created while in residence at Rashtrapati Bhavan. It would also help provide innovators with necessary linkages to institutions so as to nurture and support their innovative ideas, he said.

“The ‘In-Residence’ programme — open to all Indian nationals — aims at providing writers and artists an opportunity to stay in Rashtrapati Bhavan for one month and be a part of the life of Rashtrapati Bhavan. The initiative is an attempt to encourage young and upcoming writers and artists by facilitating them stay close to nature in the picturesque and serene surroundings of Rashtrapati Bhavan,” said Venu Rajamony, Press Secretary to the President.

He said the programme seeks to provide an environment which will inspire creative thinking and rejuvenate artistic impulses. “Various activities like reading sessions, exhibitions of works of art and interaction with the residents of Rashtrapati Bhavan, etc. are also to be organised in consultation with the selected writers and artists under the scheme.”

The artists, writers and innovators will stay in the recently refurbished Guest House in the Estate.

The programme for ‘Innovation Scholars’ in residence aims to provide further impetus to grassroots innovation. “The Rashtrapati Bhavan organises an exhibition of grassroots innovation every year during the time of opening of the Mughal Gardens. The President gives awards for grassroots innovations biennially. He has also been asking Central Universities and IITs/NITs to set up Innovation Clubs.

Under this new scheme, four ‘Innovation Scholars would be invited to stay in Rashtrapati Bhavan for a month. They would be provided an environment to work on projects in hand or take innovative ideas forward. They will also be assisted in establishing linkages with relevant institutions and provided mentoring and support,” said Mr. Rajamony giving details of the programme.

The President also launched smart ID cards for the residents of the Estate. These cards with biometric information will enable easy identification of residents without compromising on security.

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