If implemented, Karnataka will be the first state to have a comprehensive cultural policy in the country.

Karnataka has a new cultural policy and were excited to see what it does for moral policing
news Culture Tuesday, August 08, 2017 - 13:36

Chief Minister’s Siddaramaiah’s eagerness to position himself as a staunch Kannada supporter has led to the revival of a cultural policy which has been in the backburner since 1996. 

On Monday, the Karnataka cabinet approved a cultural policy for the state. If implemented, Karnataka will be the first state to have a comprehensive cultural policy in the country.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, TB Jayachandra said that the policy drafted by a six-member committee headed by Baragur Ramachandrappa has been approved by the cabinet.

According to the chairman of the committee, Baragur Ramachandrappa, 44 recommendations have been made, along with policy guidelines for these recommendations.

“One of the most important recommendation is to stop moral policing. There are two steps to this. According to the committee’s recommendations, the state police will be responsible for apprehending those resorting to moral policing. Also, a committee will be formed to create awareness against moral policing. The government, however, will have to make policies which can be implemented,” Ramachandrappa told TNM.

Other recommendations of the committee include setting up of a committee to create awareness on communal harmony in areas which are prone to communal tensions. The policy also aims to promote plurality and an important recommendation is set up a committee to consider bans on literary works.  

“Plurality must be promoted. However, it cannot be so if literary works are banned. Hence the policy suggests setting up of a committee and discussing the issue before resorting to banning any literary work. If these policies have to work, firstly, the Kannada and Culture Department must be decentralised and the cabinet has accepted this recommendation,” Ramachandrappa added.  

The policy also aims at the formation of search committees to select chairpersons for various academies.

“Such appointments must not be politicised. It recommends setting up of art galleries in each district in order to help promote local artistes. There are recommendations for special programmes to promote local art. Some art forms which are native to our state need to be promoted. Separate academies will be formed for learning Bayalata, Sugama Sangeeta and also, several folk dance academies will be established,” Ramachandrappa said.

The Law Minister said that in order for persons to bring these art forms to the mainstream, awards, scholarships and fellowships will be introduced and they will be promoted in tourist areas to create more awareness about Kannada culture.

“Tribal schools will be established to promote tribal art and culture. Sufi academy will also be established,” Jayachandra added.

The plan to have a cultural policy was first formed during the Janata Dal government in 1996. In 2013, the Siddaramaiah government decided to have a comprehensive policy in this regard and set up a committee in August of that year. The six-member committee submitted the 68-page report with 44 recommendations in June 2014, which was put on hold.

The committee had in June 2014, submitted a 68-page report to the Karnataka cabinet. The cabinet has approved the policy in the backdrop of a strong pro-Kannada stand voiced by the Chief Minister by rooting for issues like a separate state flag and removing Hindi signs in Metro stations.

“The policy has been approved by the state Finance Department and Rs 59 crore has been granted for the implementation of the policy in the first phase,” TB Jayachandra added.

According to the Law Minister, the details of the policy will be discussed at the next cabinet meeting, where orders will be passed for the implementation of the policy.

A Cabinet Sub-Committee headed by Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj, HK Patil, was appointed to study the policy its financial requirements. On Monday, Cabinet Sub-Committee gave its go-ahead to the policy. 

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