Seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) have been set up by the Government of India. These ZCCs organize cultural activities and programs on regular basis throughout the country. Jharkhand is the member State of Eastern Zonal Cultural Centre (EZCC), Kolkata. Folk artists of various art forms from all over India including Chhau artists of Jharkhand are engaged to participate in these programs for which honorarium, TA/DA, boarding & lodging, and local transportation is provided to these artists to enable them to earn their livelihood. EZCC has supported around 12000 artists through online programs and organized production-oriented workshops for craftsmen at Shilpagram, Santiniketan to help them financially. For carrying out these cultural activities, these ZCCs are provided an annual grant-in-aid by the Government of India. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic in the country, the entire artist’s community faced a financial crisis. For improving the financial condition of these artists, the Ministry of Culture has taken many initiatives to help the artists in distress during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
LCCs are organizing online programs and documenting performances of the artists and broadcasting the same on various social media platforms like Facebook and Youtube. The artists are paid remuneration for their online performances.
Steps were taken by the Ministry of Culture to Help Artists during Covid Pandemic
Because of the prevailing conditions, the Ministry of Culture issued guidelines in October 2020 to help artists/organizations who have already been sanctioned grant under various scheme components of ‘Kala Sanskriti Vikas Yojana (KSVY)’ to conduct events on virtual mode. This will enable them to avail benefits under these schemes even if they are not able to stage programs in physical format as before and will ensure continued financial assistance to tide over the present crisis.
All efforts have been made to release the funds to already approved grantees under various financial schemes of the Ministry of Culture. The funds released during the first quarter of F.Y. 2020-21 were much more than those released during the 1st quarter of FY 2019-2020. Similar efforts are being made in this financial year also.
Because of COVID-19, under the scheme of Repertory Grant, the exemption has been granted to organizations from mandatory inspection for release of yearly grant.
All help is also being extended to the grantees for completing various procedural formalities like compliance with the mandatory EAT Module. In respect of the scheme component of Cultural Function & Production Grant (CFPG), the one-time exemption has been granted to the organizations from filing the expenditure in EAT module for release of the 1st installment to the grantees of 43rd and previous meetings of CFPGS.
Because of COVID-19, under the Scheme of Scholarship & Fellowship for Promotion of Art & Culture, selection of Senior Fellows for the Batch Year 2019-20 & mid-term and final evaluation of 06 monthly reports of earlier batches (up to the Batch Year 2017-18) in respect of both Junior/Senior Fellows has been held through virtual mode because of a large number of members of the Expert Committee.
Under the scheme of ‘Artists Pension’, the one-time exemption has been granted regarding submission of the mandatory annual income certificate by the pensioners.
All the ZCCs have encouraged the folk artists/artisans to get registered with their member States to avail the schemes announced by the States.
During the first lockdown, the ZCCs organized 881 virtual programs which benefitted 22,070 artists & Rs 2.82 crore were distributed as honorarium ranging from Rs 500-5100 (Groups paid Rs 25000-50000). Similar efforts are being continued this year too.
South Zone Cultural Centre (SZCC), Thanjavur in association with a Chennai-based NGO Samarpana organized an online fund-raising program” Notes of Nector-100 for 1000” participated by eminent artists from North and South. This fundraiser initiative has enabled 1200 families of folk artists to get financial assistance, groceries, etc. during COVID-19 Pandemic.
All the ZCCs took care of artists admitted to hospitals/nursing homes and held consultations with doctors to ensure the best treatment for them. Vaccination Camps in collaboration with a multispecialty hospital in Kolkata was arranged by EZCC through CSR fund for their artists. Emergency lifesaving medicines/injections required by some of the artists admitted to the hospital were arranged by ZCCs through the Health Department of the State Governments.
Efforts have been made to engage artists during Commemoration events enabling them to avail financial benefits out of the grants released by the Ministry.
This information was given by Minister of Culture, Shri G. Kishan Reddy in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.