For the information, broadcasting and national heritage ministry, Rs384.1 million have been allocated for 33 ongoing schemes in the Public Sector Development Programme for fiscal year 2014-15, but not a single penny has been allocated for the performing arts, out of the government’s own funds.
This year, the government has allocated the biggest chunk of the budget, Rs198 million, for ongoing schemes to establish rebroadcast stations in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The lone preservation project for the restoration of Sheikhupura Fort is being supported under the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation Programme with a sum of Rs79 million.
For cultural institutions in the capital, funds have been earmarked for infrastructure in addition to restoring artworks. Another Rs16 million were approved for the construction of an auditorium at the Pakistan Academy of Letters.
For the Pakistan National Council of the Arts three ongoing schemes for improving infrastructure and preservation were allocated Rs34 million, of which Rs 10million were approved for the preparation of a database of paintings and artworks and Rs8 million have been approved for setting up a laboratory and restoration of damaged paintings and artworks. Some Rs9 million have been allocated for upgrading security at the National Art Gallery.
A request for an allocation of Rs10 million for capacity-building for economic and development journalism, which did not specify where or how the funds would be spent was turned down. The second scheme for dubbing Pakistani dramas in a foreign language with an estimated cost of Rs10 million was also rejected.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2014.