Academies in State take a hit as grants are cut

A significant cut in grants and delay in releasing financial assistance to 13 cultural academies has left those heading them worried.

As 50% of the grant goes into administrative expenses, chairpersons of the cultural academies in the State are unsure if they can continue the long-term programmes undertaken.

J. Lokesh, chairman of Karnataka Nataka Academy, said the total grant released to 13 academies was ₹11.6 crore for 2018-19 and ₹8 crore for 2019-20. “This means a 35% reduction. Chairpersons of all academies have written to the government, opposing the cut in grants. How can we continue the permanent programmes?” asked Mr. Lokesh.

Letter to Minister

In his letter to Minister for Kannada and Culture D.K. Shivakumar, Mr. Lokesh explained that the government had released ₹1.2 crore to his academy the previous year. “Unfortunately, the government has released only ₹80 lakh this year. While the tradition is to increase the quantum of grant by 5 to 10% each year, this move has resulted in many programmes coming to a grinding halt,” he said.

Kamalakshi, chairperson, Karnataka Lalitha Kala Academy, concurred. “Despite chairpersons discussing the issue of cut in grant with the Secretary of Kannada and Culture, the issue was not resolved. It has become difficult to reply to queries being raised by the artiste community on the programmes,” she said.

Meeting of delegation

Chairpersons of all academies plan to take a delegation to Mr. Shivakumar.

Officials of the Department of Kannada and Culture say the government can do little. “The department has no role in cutting grants or delay in the release of financial assistance. Funds released by the government is being distributed among all academies,” said a senior official.

“The secretary of the department is being changed frequently. We don’t know whom to approach,” said a theatre activist.

Meanwhile, according to sources in the government, Mr. Shivakumar, who is busy with political activities, is planning to convene a meeting of chairpersons of academies.

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