December 5, 2013
State Govt to give monthly remuneration to tribal artists
West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee has proposed that the folk artists in the state be given a monthly stipend. To uplift the condition of folk artistes who belong to the backward castes, the state Backward Class Welfare Department has been asked to pay them a monthly remuneration of Rs 1,000.
The department has instructed all district magistrates to provide a list of prospective beneficiaries based on their economic and social status. Once the number of prospective beneficiaries is ascertained, the department will approach the state Finance Department for allocation of funds.
Senior officials of the state Backward Class Welfare Department said tribal folk artistes who perform jhumur, gambhira, baul, kabi-gaan, puppetry, chhau, sarigan and bachhari baich (traditional boat race), kantha shilpa will be included in the will be eligible.
Folk artistes, it was found, are concentrated in certain localities. Baul singers, for instance, mostly belong to Birbhum and Burdwan, while those performing jhumur are from Purulia and West Midnapore and people who sing gambhira live in Malda.
Recently, officials of the department visited these areas and found that artistes traditionally and culturally involved in these art forms suffer from abject poverty. The tribal advisory board under the state Tribal Welfare Department, which has been given the task of monitoring the beneficiary list, will conduct a meeting on 27 December at Nabanna to discuss other welfare schemes that can be provided to the folk artistes.
Mr Upen Biswas, state minister for backward classes, said more such initiatives will be taken to uplift the backward folk artistes. The attempt will serve as precedence in bringing folk artistes under one umbrella so that can avail the benefits under various welfare schemes.