The Union ministry of culture gave Rs 2.5 crore for the Art of Living foundation’s cultural festival to be held on the city’s ecosensitive Yamuna floodplain.
The grant was approved in December for the Bengaluru-based Vyakti Vikas Kendra Trust set up by spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, documents in possession of HTshow. Ravi Shankar is also the founder of Art of Living.
“There is a scheme of financial assistance given to cultural organisations with national presence. We have given similar grants to Spic Macay, Vidya Bharati Sanskriti Sansthan, and a number of other organisations,” culture minister Mahesh Sharma told HT.
While Spic Macay is a voluntary effort at promoting classical music and dance, the Vidya Bharati Sanskriti Sansthan is affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, the ruling BJP’s ideological parent.
The minister said the money was not just for the World Culture Festival. “The quantum of grant could be up to Rs 5 crore under the scheme and they have been given Rs 2.5 crore,” he said. The minutes of a December 16 meeting of the ministry’s steering committee on scheme of financial assistance to cultural organisations with national presence, however, reveal ` 2.5 crore was meant for the Delhi event that begins March 11.
Sharma will attend the cultural extravaganza to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Some festival posters even have the ministry as one of the supporting organisations.