MONEY MATTERS in the art world. But sometimes it is at the expense of art and artists. That is what the State Lalit Kala Akademi’s decision indicates.
The SLKA has reduced the number of All India Lalit Kala Awards from ten to six to meet the increasing expenses of the chairman who holds the rank of a state minister. The award, bestowed every third year, carries a prize of Rs 25,000.
Akademi director Dr Veena Vidhyarthi said, “We were unable to meet the expenses of the chairman, so we had to take this decision. We will now be able to save about Rs 1 lakh every third year.”
An Akademi official said, “From March 2005 to September 2006, the SLKA spent about Rs 8 lakh on the then chairman Kunwar Brijendra Pratap Singh. The government gave the Akademi only Rs 2.91 lakh for this. The rest was met from the annual budget.”
Expenses of the present chairman Umesh Dixit include Rs 7,500 per month on refreshments and Rs 600 per day as travel allowance. Plus, he gets air tickets and is entitled to Rs 5000 per month as an honorarium, along with a telephone allowance. The SLKA gets an annual budget of Rs 25 lakh for salaries and other expenses. Since March 2005, the government has been appointing State ministers as SLKA chairmen. Earlier, artists were appointed to the post. The All India Lalit Kala Award receives about 800 entries. It is open to four art forms — painting, graphics, drawing and sculpture.