Difficult to allocate public fund to art and culture: Centre

Culture should be an area where a large part of expenditure needs to be sourced from non-government sources, like in developed countries, say officials

Updated - March 19, 2023 11:25 pm IST

Published - March 19, 2023 07:37 pm IST - New Delhi

Union Minister for Culture G. Kishan Reddy. File

Union Minister for Culture G. Kishan Reddy. File | Photo Credit: ANI

Given the high disparity it experiences in elementary rural infrastructure like health, education and transportation, it might not be “tenable” for a developing nation like India to allocate a considerable proportion of its public fund to the promotion of art and culture, the Culture Ministry has said.

The Ministry was responding to observations made by a parliamentary committee that the allocation of the Ministry of Culture was just 0.075% of the total Budget this year which was in sharp contrast to countries like China, the U.K., U.S., Singapore and Australia which spend roughly 2%-5% of their Budget on the promotion of art and culture.

Officials who appeared before the committee also noted that a majority of the amount spent on art and culture in the countries mentioned above are sourced from non-government sources which is not the case in India.

They, however, observed that the Ministry has been consistently able to increase its budgetary outlays over the years except during the COVID-pandemic period where priority was given to other social sector Ministries.

The Ministry was also trying and evolving innovative methods to maximise the participation of non-government organisations in the field of promotion and conservation of art and culture like in some of the countries mentioned above, they said giving the example of the Monument Mitra scheme. Under this scheme, the government aims to hand over around 1,000 monuments under the control of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to the private sector for their upkeep.

“Culture should be an area where a large part of expenditure needs to be sourced from non-government sources” and hence the Ministry was also supporting non-governmental and voluntary organisations through its various schemes for participating in overall propagation, preservation and promotion of all forms of art and culture, the report submitted by the Department Related Standing Committee on Transport Tourism and Culture quoted the Culture Ministry as saying.

The Union Budget for 2023-24 has allocated ₹3,399.65 crore under revenue and ₹285.40 crore under capital heads to the Ministry of Culture for undertaking various prioritised programmes or activities.

There is also an additional allocation of ₹25.55 crore under the head ‘Global Engagement and International Cooperation’ which is mainly to be used for the activities related to the G-20 and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) presidency of India. The Ministry has to release funds for arrangement of G-20 and SCO cultural track meetings to be hosted by India during its ongoing presidency.

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