Focus: GS-I Art and Culture
Although there is tremendous diversity and excellence of fine arts, performance arts and crafts — folk, classical, and contemporary — there are neither authoritative definitions nor data on the size or shape of “Creative economy”.
Troubled times for the creative sector
- A large section of artists and artisans are part of the informal economy – weavers, folk singers, tribal dancers and even classical music performers. Some of them depend on agriculture to supplement their income for part of the year.
- According to a recent report: MSMEs, which have taken a beating due to the lockdown, make up almost 90% of the creative sector.
- Of these businesses, almost one-third are facing a loss of roughly 50% of their annual income in the first quarter.
- 50% of the events and entertainment management sector saw 90% of their events cancelled, and almost two-thirds of organisations established between four and 10 years ago have stopped functioning.
- The Creative sector is one that struggles for the most part even in the best of times.
- Support from the private sector is unreliable and insufficient — further compromised by rigid CSR rules that make it difficult to justify donations in this area.
- This has stifled experimentation and innovation in the arts as well as preservation of heritage.
A list of recommendations
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) has sent a list of recommendations to the Ministry of Culture that can go a long way in mitigating the damage.
Amongst these recommendations are:
- Releasing grants that are pending since 2017, despite being approved
- Diverting the budgets already allocated for state-sponsored cultural festivals to help artists in need
- Ensuring health coverage to artists under Ayushman Bharat or the Central Government Health Scheme
- Moratoriums on GST payments
- Investing in digital infrastructure that can help artists take their work online.
- In these circumstances, there is a real opportunity to create a cultural economy that helps millions of performers move away from agriculture and sustain themselves without having to migrate for temporary jobs.
- This is but one of the innumerable ways in which nurturing the creative arts can help strengthen India’s economy.
- It can also simultaneously bolster our soft power.
-Source: The Hindu