HRD minister Arjun Singh this week directed review of the films for creating awareness regarding adult literacy after several national film award winners cried foul over the selection process.
The Directorate of Adult Education had empanelled 71 filmmakers from a list of over 350 for making movies for adult literacy programme but had not included eminent film-makers like Himanshu Malhotra, Kishore Dang, Nadira Babbar, MA Zauki, Suhail Illyasi and Mikey Kapoor.
Proposals of some of them were rejected on the ground of disk error, a reply to an RTI application by filmmaker Pradip Sinha had revealed. “If the ministry would have informed us the ground for rejection we would had provided a new disk,” Sinha told HT when contacted.
A deeper look at RTI reply revealed that of the 16 firms, which were given work worth Rs 5.6 crore between 2006 and 2008, at least half, were not empanelment this time. “This is a clear indication that the quality of the work last time was not upto the mark,” said a senior filmmaker, who was not willing to be quoted fearing blacklisting by the government.
But, two of the rejected firms got into the selection list under a different name of the firm. “The application was in name of an immediate family member,” a filmmaker, requesting anonymity, said.
Moreover, the filmmakers in the representation to the HRD minister Singh said the entire selection process was not transparent with less than five minutes given to consider each proposal, which was not adequate to judge a visual proposal.
When contacted Director, of the directorate, RK Bhat said the issue was being sorted out. “HRD minister has asked us to review the entire process,” he said, while terming the allegation as malafide by those who were not empanelled.
What remains an area of concern was that during the period when the ministry spends Rs 5.6 crore on making short movies, India’s adult literacy rate improved by just by one percent.