‘Culture sector needs priority, more funds’

May 7th, 2012 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Lamenting that the culture sector had not received the priority it deserved, a parliamentary panel Monday said adequate funds should be given to the department during the 12th Five Year Plan period to consolidate infrastructure and expedite modernisation projects at key institutions across the country.

In its report, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture said the culture ministry had projected a requirement of Rs 18.353.94 crore for the 12th plan period (2012-17) to carry out its schemes and activities.

The committee also expressed concern that for the year 2012-2013, the culture ministry was allocated only Rs.864 crore against the projected demand of Rs.2,916.43 crore.

In view of effecting a cut of about 70 percent of the ministry’s projected demands, the committee felt that “either the ministry’s projections were unrealistically high or the Planning Commission and the ministry of finance did not accord the importance the ministry deserves”.

“Culture sector had not received the priority it deserved,” it added.

The panel said the ministry’s performance was not bad “except in museums, libraries and archives during the entire 11th plan period”. It hoped that the Planning Commission would consider the importance the culture and art in human development and contribution of culture-related activities in gross domestic product (GDP), employment generation and above all instilling a sense of national pride and identity.

The committee said culture had to develop linkages with tourism, road and highways ministries, civil aviation and railway.

It noted that the work of the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities were progressing at a slow pace. During the 11th five-year plan, the mission could document only 80,000 built heritage and sites out of 400,000 monuments.

Pointing out manpower shortage in the Archaeological Survey of India which led to slowing down of heritage conservation projects, the committee said, “There was a huge gap between the sanctioned strength, almost in all categories of staff and officials in ASI (Archaeological Survey of India).”

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