New Delhi, April 14: This will once again earn Modi government ire of the Opposition. Reportedly, the Union Government has changed the management of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) which was set up in the memory of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her son Rajiv Gandhi.
Veteran Hindi journalist Ram Bahadur Rai has been appointed as its head in place of Chinmaya Gharekhan, a former diplomat. The Culture Ministry has announced the decision.
Former news editor of Hindi daily Jansatta, Rai was appointed as the President of the 20-member Board of Trustees of IGNCA. Meanwhile, Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma has justified the move. He has said that change is a continuous process.
IGNCA-A Congress legacy
IGNCA was established in 1987 when Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister as a centre for research, academic pursuit and dissemination in the field of the arts.
Gharekhan was appointed during the UPA-I rule. The reconstituted trust of IGNCA, an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, will be functional with immediate effect, an official statement said.
Besides Rai, the Board comprises 19 other members including classical dancers Sonal Mansingh and Padma Subrahmaniam, lyricist Prasoon Joshi and artist Vasudeo Kamath.
The other members of the Board are Chandraprakash Dwivedi, Nitin Desai, K Arvinda Rao, Bharat Gupta, ex-chairman Khadi Village Industries Commission(KVIC) Mahesh Chandra Sharma, M Seshan, Rati Vinay Jha, Nirmala Sharma, Harsh Neotia, Saryu Doshi, DP Sinha and Viraj Yagnik.
The Board also has Culture secretary, additional secretary and financial advisor of Culture Ministry and member secretary, IGNCA as trustees. Padma Subrahmaniam is the only member in the outgoing Board of Trustees who has been retained.
Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma termed the revamp of the IGNCA management as something "not done for the first time" and noted similar steps were taken in 2000, 2004 and 2007.
"See its a continuous process. Change is a continuous process. As a part of that, this change has been brought," Sharma said.
Sharma said the Government hopes to "take forward, promote and preserve the countrys culture, heritage, art and literature in the wake of the "change".
He also noted that the new IGNCA Head has been associated with thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Jayaprakash Narayan, besides being a "noted" journalist.
"All the 20 people (named) in the list as trustees, they are experts in their (respective) fields," he added.
Congress is criticising the move
Congress leader Renuka Chaudhary said the party was not "crying foul" but wondered whether reconstituting the IGNCA Board was a "national priority" for the Culture and Tourism ministry at a time when it should focus on steps to increase foreign tourist arrivals.
Gharekhan downplayed the reconstitution of the trust saying "there is no mystery" in it as he noted that "all successive" governments have done the same in the past.
(With inputs from PTI)