In a bid to help the artists in the national capital get through the financial crunch as well as offer a platform to collaborate and showcase their talent, the Delhi government launched a fellowship programme.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday, January 15, announced the launch of 'Street Theatre and Performing Arts Fellowship' scheme to provide artists with an opportunity to showcase their craft.
"This is the first time in our country that such a unique scheme of cultural presentation of over 450 artists has been launched in Delhi. This will develop a taste for art and culture amongst the people of Delhi," Sisodia said at the event, as reported by The New Indian Express.
"There will be live performances on the streets as we have created this fellowship to give an opportunity to the artists to showcase their art," he explained.
The scheme has been started by the Sahitya Kala Parishad under the Department of Arts, Culture and Languages. Using "#ArtistsOfDelhi", the minister tweeted that the street artists at various places would hit the streets every week to break the 'monotony of the city life'.
Reports have pointed out that nearly 500 artists from diverse backgrounds including theatre, music, dance and fine arts have been selected for this fellowship while another 500 will be added to the plan-of-action in the future.
"We had envisioned this scheme a year ago but it got sidelined because of the pandemic. Now we have decided that it is time to launch it. I'm happy that all formalities of the fellowship are out of the way and now it will go out in the public ' taking art to the streets," the minister said.
The Deputy Chief Minister described that this opportunity would empower the artists besides providing them with a livelihood. The ones selected would be offered a monthly stipend of ₹5,000 by the government and the bunch would perform in a team of 10 every week at public places in the national capital.
Each team has been trained by "eminent theatre experts" and would include artists of different art forms.
"It (fellowship) will also serve as an opportunity for the artists to showcase their art across Delhi in a creative way. Also, we want people to get used to art in this city so that music, art and culture thrive in the city all year round," Sisodia said.
Uncertainty due to COVID-19
A recent study has revealed that a substantial 67 per cent of those belonging to the creative economy workforce are uncertain about their survival beyond 2021. A report by Everything Experiential stated that the creative economy is contracting— with 16% of the creative sector facing permanent closure. It further added that individual professionals and artisans are facing short-term hand-to-mouth existence.
The study 'Taking the Temperature' was jointly launched by the British Council, FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) and Art X Company. The report was prepared on the deepening impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on India's creative economy. The report that tried to gauge and analyse the economic state and sentiment of the creative sector workforce and artists and underlined the continued uncertainty in the creative sector and the risks posed to its long-term survival if emergency action was not taken.
Delhi Govt Pays Rs 938 Cr To Civic Bodies
The Arvind Kejriwal led-Delhi government also decided to provide ₹938 crores to three municipal corporations to pay up pending salaries of their employees. Deputy Chief Minister while making the announcement alleged that the BJP-led civic bodies have become "bankrupt" due to corruption by their leaders.
At a press conference, Sisodia claimed that although the state government does not have any obligation to provide funds to the civic bodies it decided to do so after "seeing the suffering of MCD employees".
He further highlighted that the authorities had to reduce the budget of the government's other departments for the process of disbursing the salaries.
Several employees of North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and East Delhi Municipal Corporation which together formed the erstwhile Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) went on an indefinite strike last week against non-payment of salaries and pensions.
"It is not fault of the employees. If they've worked, they should be getting their salaries. Therefore, a decision was taken for funds to be arranged from wherever possible. Even the Delhi government is short of funds...only half of the tax money is coming in. We've had to stop many schemes.... However, ₹938 crore is being given for the salaries of the employees despite the Delhi government having no such liability," he said.