Editorial 1 : Choose a new palette for India’s creative economy


Digital platforms and technology have enabled Indian artists and artisans to reach wider audiences. However, they face challenges that are related to economic sustainability, market access, the digital divide, crime in the art world and preservation.

The creative economy

  • The creative economy is one of the youngest and fastest-growing sectors, with unique challenges that often go unnoticed by public and private investors.
  • There is now growing recognition of the economic importance of the arts sector as it helps in the creation of jobs, economic growth, tourism, exports, and overall societal development.
  • Recognising the economic importance of culture, the UNESCO World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development (MONDIACULT 2022) was held to address contemporary issues in multicultural societies.
  • The goal was to share a vision for the future of cultural policies and to reaffirm the international community’s commitment to leveraging culture’s transformative power for sustainable development.

Status  of artists

  • Online platforms, social media, and digital content creation enable artists, writers, film-makers, musicians, and other creatives to engage with audiences, and monetise their talents.
  • While Indian artists and artisans play a vital role in preserving traditional art forms and creating contemporary artworks, they face challenges that are related to economic sustainability, market access, and the preservation of traditional art forms in a rapidly changing society.
  • Government support, cultural institutions, and initiatives provide financial assistance, training programmes, and opportunities for artists to exhibit their work
  • However, more efforts are needed to promote contemporary artists as brands and ensure equal representation and financial assistance.

Challenges, Effect and Solution

  • There are challenges in the selection of artists for financial assistance in organising cultural events.
  • Lack of transparency in the selection process creates inequality in representation.
  • There is no systematic or rotational mechanism in place to provide this assistance, and the selection process is often random or based on subjective criteria.
  • Additionally, unlike in other countries, there are no serious efforts by private or public institutions to promote contemporary artists as brands.
  • Crime in the art world includes art theft, copyright infringement, forgery, fraud, and illicit trafficking. Addressing these crimes requires increased security measures, international cooperation, public awareness, and advanced technology for authentication and tracking.
  • There is no institutional infrastructure, expertise and technology to verify the original artwork. The gap is leading to injustice towards genuine artists.
  • These offences affect cultural heritage and cause financial harm and erode public trust.
  • Exploitation of Indian artists, unaccounted money preserved through artworks, and the dissemination of disinformation about cultural history through various media only compound the issue.
  • Solutions include increased security measures, international cooperation, public awareness, and advanced technology for authentication.
  • Regular audits of acquired artworks can enhance trust and preserve a collection’s integrity.

A workable solution

  • Having a collaborative model promoting the cultural economy is an effective solution to address the challenges faced by the creative economy and promote the economic contribution of culture.
  • To promote economic growth, a solution can be to encourage India’s soft power by having a capacity-building centre.
  • The needs of artists must be bridged through training, professional development, market access, and participation in larger communities and networks.
  • facilitation centre would help foster knowledge sharing, economic empowerment, and sustainable livelihood solutions for artists and artisans.
  • Data analytics should be used to foster creative ecosystems that contribute to a sustainable world.
  • The government along with private players can empower artists, help bridge industry gaps, and contribute to the overall development of the creative economy by providing support, resources, and opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship.

Way forward

  • The centre should also be a platform to provide sustainable livelihood solutions for artists and artisans through participatory models, leveraging the latest ICT tools to enhance their participation in the business ecosystem.
  • It is also time for new data that shed light on emerging trends at a global level as well as putting forward policy recommendations to foster creative ecosystems that contribute to a sustainable world.

Editorial 2 : Diminishing returns


India benefited as a member of the SCO, but the future is not bright


  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation-Council of Heads of State meeting, hosted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, marked the first time India chaired the summit of regional countries.
  • India became a full SCO member in 2017, along with Pakistan.
  •  During this 23rd Summit, Iran officially joined the SCO as the Ninth Member Country.
  • The theme of India’s chairperson-ship of SCO is ‘Towards a SECURE SCO’, which stands for: S: Security, E: Economic development, C: Connectivity, U: Unity, R: Respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, E: Environmental protection.

The importance of SCO

  • The government has held that joining the originally Eurasian group was important as member-countries make up a third of the global GDP, a fifth of global trade, a fifth of global oil reserves and about 44% of natural gas reserves.
  • Also important is its focus on regional security and connectivity — areas key to India’s growth and making up its challenges, such as terrorism in Pakistan, and Chinese aggressions as well as the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Being “inside the tent” is important, especially as Pakistan is a member, even if that means conducting joint exercises under the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure.
  • The SCO also gives India an interface with Central Asian markets and resources.
  • Finally, joining the SCO was a key part of India’s stated ambitions on “multi-alignment” and “strategic autonomy” while becoming a “balancing power” in the world,
  • Over the past year, this has become an economic necessity as India has chosen to be neutral on the Ukraine war, benefiting from fuel and fertilizer purchases from Russia.

India’s Chairmanship

  • It was expected that India’s turn to chair the SCO this year would be a major event, rivalling the expected pomp around the G-20 meet in September.
  • In addition, given Russia’s and China’s blocks on the G-20 joint communiqué that India is keen to find consensus on, the SCO summit would have been a convenient venue for Mr. Modi to negotiate a resolution with his counterparts.
  • However, India’s decision to postpone the SCO summit due to the Prime Minister’s U.S. State visit, and then to turn it into a virtual summit may have been a dampener on the SCO outcomes.
  • India’s concerns with hosting Xi Jinping given the LAC hostilities, or Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif’s possible ‘grandstanding’, or even the optics of welcoming Russian President Vladimir Putin may have been factors.
  • Whatever the reason, while the members hammered out a New Delhi declaration and joint statements on radicalisation and digital transformation, the government was unable to forge consensus on other agreements including one on making English a formal SCO language, while India, despite being Chair, did not endorse a road map on economic cooperation, presumably due to concerns over China’s imprint.


With its SCO chairpersonship ending, the government may now be feeling the law of diminishing returns over its SCO engagement — one that might make its task of hosting the G-20 even more difficult.


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