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MP govt announces scheme for rural artistes, Opposition cries foul

The Opposition sees a political motive behind the move as it has been announced in the election year.

bhopal Updated: Mar 23, 2018 13:14 IST
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Madhya Pradesh government,BJP,Congress
The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh earmarked Rs 57 crore in the state’s budget to provide musical instruments to rural musicians.(HT File Photo for representational purpose only. )

The BJP-led Madhya Pradesh government earmarked Rs 57-crore in the state’s supplementary budget passed by the assembly on Wednesday for distribution of musical instruments among village panchayats, a move viewed by the Opposition as poll dole ahead of this year’s assembly elections.

There are more than 23000 village panchayats in the state.

The government said many folk musicians would benefit from the financial assistance to be provided through panchayats.

The financial assistance will be given to panchayats, but the money will go in the hands of at least one group of artistes (kala mandali) in each of the panchayats, cultural department sources said.

With the money the group will purchase musical instruments such as harmonium, dholakh, tabla among others, the sources added.

It is, however, not yet decided how much money would be given to each group.

The department took the decision to provide the financial assistance as many artiste groups in rural areas often lacked resources to arrange musical instruments and promote their art, an official said.

“Once they get instruments, they can perform at various functions, including marriages, in rural areas and earn their livelihood,” he pointed out.

Principal secretary, culture, Manoj Shrivastava said: “Grassroots musicians are very important for any culture to prosper. For us, giving support to artists doesn’t mean giving support only to established institutions. Our aim is to address the livelihood issues of the artists who are often neglected or ignored.”

The Opposition, however, sees a political motive behind the move as it has been announced in the election year.

“This is an election agenda of the BJP. Why was it announced in the election year? And who will ensure the artists will get the money and there will not be any corruption. It would have been better had the state government focussed on development of villages and spent the amount on education and health,” state Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi said.

The BJP refuted the allegation.

“ The Congress sees politics in the state government’s every welfare scheme. The past Congress governments in the state did nothing for rural artisets. This was a unique scheme of the culture department to not only promote the folk culture but also to take care of the livelihood of the rural artistes.” state BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said.

First Published: Mar 23, 2018 13:14 IST