Imperious missteps

Background – Lakshadweep, a 36-square-kilometer archipelago in the Arabian Sea, has been a  union territory for an Union. The new proposed law is set to impact lives of inhibitors and development process of the island.

Proposed Reforms –

  • The draft Lakshadweep Development Authority Regulation 2021 grants the administrative authority vast powers to take over land and to forcefully remove people.
  • Consumption or sale of beef, a part of the food habits of many, could be an offence punishable by seven years in prison.
  • Those who have more than two children cannot contest panchayat elections.
  • Under a new Goonda Act, anyone could be held in prison without reason up to a year,
  • Access to coastlines for the traditional fishing community has been denied. Their shed has been demolished over violation of coast guard Act.
  • Government administered Dairy farms are shut.

Implications  –

  • Commercial interests could be at play
  • The land that inhabitants are forced to part with could be transferred to buyers from outside.
  • Can alter the demography of the islands.

Conclusion –

The purpose of establishing Union Territories as an administrative entity is to maintain their residents’ distinctive cultural and historical conditions. The Center has reversed its commitment to safeguard.

Losing the way with a map

Impediments in being an cultural powerhouse

  • While allocations for culture have been marginal at best over the last decade, they have declined in the last five years, now standing at a mere 0.07% of the Budget. For 2021-22,
  • The budget for the MoC is just ??2,688 crore, with another ??4 crore accruing from indirect allocations to other ministries.
  • The government slashed culture funding by a further 21% during the pandemic. Contrast this to countries like China, Singapore, Australia and the U.K., which increased allocations, besides announcing billion dollar relief packages.
  • The government’s cultural institutions are plagued by vacancies (ranging from 30% to 70%) and lack of trained manpower.

National Mission on Cultural Mapping –

  • The idea of National Mission on Cultural Mapping emerged in 2015 with a budget of 3000 CR. A paltry amount of 42.78 Cr was allocated in year 2018-20 and only 1.17 Cr rupees has been utilized till now.
  • Project’s mission is to identify, collect and record cultural assets and resources.
  • It mentions a portal and a database listing organisations, spaces, facilities, festivals and events.
  • Database can be used to preserve culture and provide or ameliorate livelihoods.

Role of mapping –

  • Mapping would chart geographies, artists, resources and institutions, find the gaps, and ensure optimal fund utilisation.
  • Mapping can create a database that anybody can plug into, thus becoming a resource for the media, researchers and funders.
  • It can create transport and tourism infrastructure around a declining crafts village.

Case study – When the European Capitals of Culture programme picked Glasgow, the city was rife with crime and poverty. The programme built and renovated its cultural facilities, created a garden festival, and constructed a museum. Today, Glasgow has among the highest per capita culture budgets in Britain.

Conclusion –

A cultural map might be a crucial tool in the chaos that currently reigns over the space, and the concept cannot be abandoned just because many bureaucrats and ministers are unaware of its significance or breadth. Even this blueprint, if its irrelevancies, absurdities, and overreach are removed, and the focus is retained on a deeper examination and comprehension of the variety of the cultural basis, without caste, communal, or regional hierarchies, can assist the MoC solve its financial problems. Official India must take a closer look at itself in the mirror in order to be a cultural leader.


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