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Culture Mapping of 80 Villages Kicks ff


Culture mapping of 80 villages associated with noted personalities in history, in particular the freedom movement, unique crafts and festivals had been started as a pilot project, which is expected to be completed in the 2021 financial year.


GS-I: Art and Culture, GS-II: Governance (Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors, Issues arising out of their design and implementation)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Signs of Neglect of culture
  2. About the project for cultural mapping of 80 cities
  3. National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India
  4. What needs to done to change course and support culture?

Signs of Neglect of culture

  • An online resource for arts and culture, Sahapedia, recently ran the budget numbers for the Ministry of Culture (MoC) and it shows that budget allocations for culture have declined in the last five years (2016-2021) now standing at a mere 0.07% of the Budget.
  • To put into perspective: the annual budget of the MoC — which runs three Akademis, 70-odd museums, three national galleries, several national libraries and archives, cultural institutions of the size of the National School of Drama and Kalakshetra, zonal cultural centres, and more — equals 1.5 Rafales (budget for the MoC is just over Rs. 2,500 Crores while one Rafale jet costs around Rs. 1,600 crores).
  • When the pandemic struck in 2020 – instead of helping beleaguered artists and artisans, the government slashed culture funding by a further 21%. To put this into perspective: countries like China, Singapore, Australia and the U.K. increased allocations to culture, besides announcing billion-dollar relief packages.
  • Additionally, the Indian government’s cultural institutions are plagued by vacancies (ranging from 30% to 70%) and lack of trained manpower. This means fund usage has invariably been random and ill-planned.

About the project for cultural mapping of 80 cities

  • The project would lead to a “national register and interactive database of artists and art practices from the villages of India”.
  • Each artist would be given a unique ID and an e-commerce platform set up.
  • The work under the mission involves coordinating the data collection through ground and field surveys conducted on the basis of detailed formats and questionnaires, mobile application, interactive web-portal and an over-the-top (OTT) platform to showcase ethnographic documentaries/ cultural events/ festival/ melas etc. of villages.
  • From Sempore in Kashmir to Kanjirapally in Kerala, villages with a connection to the freedom movement as well as those with their own art practices have been selected for the project, being conducted by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).

About the list of cities included in the project for cultural mapping

  • Sempore or Pandrenthan in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir that is associated with 14th Century mystic Lal Ded or Lalleshwari.
  • Choglamsar and Wanla villages from Ladakh, known for wood carving
  • Khatkar Kalan village in Punjab, which has a memorial of Bhagat Singh
  • Reni village of Uttarakhand, where the Chipko movement started
  • Kathputli Colony in Delhi, known for the “migrant kathputli artists”
  • Two villages in Tamil Nadu — Ettayapuram (the birthplace of poet Subramania Bharathi) and Thiruchigadi (a village of “women potters”).

National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India

  • The National Mission on Cultural Mapping, envisioned in 2015, but set up by the Ministry of Culture in 2017 – aims at converting the vast and widespread cultural canvas of India into an objective cultural map, designing a mechanism to fulfil the aspirations of the whole artist community of the nation and preserving the rich cultural heritage of this country in the form of a cultural repository of artists and art forms.
  • Specially designed data capture form with technical collaboration of National E-Governance Division (NEGD)/Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has been formulated for data collection.
  • National Mission on Cultural Mapping is a part of the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ umbrella.

What can mapping do?

At the least, it can create a database that anybody can plug into, thus becoming a resource for the media, researchers and funders. At its best, it can do so much more. It can, for instance, locate a derelict cinema and renovate it as an auditorium in a town where there are none, or create transport and tourism infrastructure around a declining crafts village.


  1. Mission encompasses data mapping, demography building formalising the processes and bringing all the cultural activities under one web-based umbrella for better results.
  2. Mission also seeks to open a direct channel of communication of artists with the Government and peer to peer communication among artists for talent honing and handholding of each other.
  3. Establish the cultural mapping (database of cultural assets and resources) via running nationwide cultural awareness programme called Hamari Sanskari Hamari Pachan Abhiyan for the development of all art forms and artists. This Abhiyan will take care of their aspirations and needs by providing a robust mechanism under “Design for Desire and Dream” project.
  4. The mission will run the Abhiyan also by arranging “Sanskritik Pratibha Khoj Samaroh Din” at various levels of this project.
  5. Establish a National Cultural Working Place portal for obtaining information, knowledge sharing, participation, performance and awards in the field of all art forms.
  6. Provide support in effective utilisation of financial and intellectual resources, minimising wastage of time in talent scouting and providing an opportunity for developing cultural inventory including artists and art forms.
  7. Ranking/Certification of attainments of any kind at any level acquired through formal or non-formal means in conventional art forms.
  8. Spreading Digital Literacy for teacher empowerment and encouraging teachers/Gurus to be available on the internet for guidance/mentoring for the artists along with online evaluation processes for artists.

Limitations of the mission:

  • Out of total outlay of 3000 crore only 42 crores were utilised in two years of its functioning.
  • Due to lack of IT infrastructure, artists identification data at block level could not be completed. 
  • The scheme focuses more on providing services rather creating the empowering the artists to perform better.

What needs to done to change course and support culture?

  1. The Government should focus on timely allocation of funds to all agencies and institutions, especially on a priority basis.
  2. As planned, a Nation-wide artists database should be made available at earliest to increase exposure.
  3. Self-declaration of art and art-forms should be promoted as it will help remove issues regarding representation.
  4. To secure the future, Schools and colleges could be encouraged to promote artistic facilities.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023