Budget allocation for culture drops marginally

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) Culture seems to fallen a step behind on the government’s list of priority with the total budgetary allocation for 2010-2011 dropping to Rs.1,238 crore from Rs. 1,254 crore for 2009-2010.

However, the plan outlay has increased to Rs.735 crore in 2010-2011 from Rs.630 crore in the present fiscal.

Taking note of the growing resentment against the unavailability of new books in government libraries, poor infrastructure, maintenance and dearth of funds to augment stocks, the government has increased its allocations for national libraries to Rs.118.82 crore from Rs.110.38 crore in the last fiscal.

The beneficiaries include the National Library in Kolkata, the Delhi Public Library, the Raja Ram Mohun Roy Library Foundation in Kolkata and several other smaller libraries.

The smaller libraries include the Central Reference Library in Kolkata, Central Library in Mumbai, Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library in Patna – which is more than 100 years old and home to a rich collection of rare books and manuscripts, Rampur Raza Library, Thanjavur Maharaja Serfoji’s Saraswati Mahal Library and Connemara Library in Chennai. Another beneficiary is the National Mission for the Preservation of Manuscripts.

The culture ministry also plans to set up a National Mission on Libraries leading to the formation of a separate commission and a national archives for storage and preservation of audio-visual material.

Budgetary allocations for the Lalit Kala Akademi, Sahitya Akademi, the Gandhi Peace Prize and the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) have increased marginally.

The Archaeological Survey of India, which has several ambitious schemes underway, has suffered a setback with a slash in allocation compared to last year.

The department which protects 3,675 monuments, has decided to renovate 46 monuments especially in and around the capital for the 2010 Commonwealth Games to boost the image of the country.

The department has been allocated Rs.380.90 crore against Rs.426.11 crore in 2009-2010.

‘Overall, it has been a mixed bag for the department,’ a senior culture ministry official said.

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