A new flagship project namely ‘LokprasarPrakalpo’ has been introduced by the Department of Information & Cultural Affairs with the inspiration of Hon’ble Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The main objectives of the project are – (I) to bestow dignity on folk artistes by issuing them identity cards, (2) to uphold the traditional folk forms of Bengal, (3) to revive nearly-extinct folk-forms of art and culture and (4) to uplift the socio economic conditions of artists associated with folk culture.
The Department of Information and Cultural Affairs has been implementing, the following programmes under ‘LokprasarPrakalpo’:
issuing identity card to each folk-artiste.
arranging for monthly pension for veteran and distressed folk-artistes.
granting of retainer fee to artistes.
arranging for the minimum income by engaging them in the public campaign programme on development projects.
Issuing of Identity Cards
One of many objectives that the ‘LokprasarPrakalpo’ is to bestow dignity on every folk-artistes. Unfortunately folk-artistes hardly get their due respect, and they remain ignored in the society. The Government has taken initiative to confer upon them their due honour through LokprasarPrakalpo. So far, 84,720 artistes have been provided with identity cards across the state.
Provisions for pensions for the needy and elderly folk artistes
There are many folk artistes in Bengal, who used to perform in various programmes with reputation and attracted attention of the audiences. Most of them are now unable to perform because of their old age. They don’t have definite source of income and there is nobody to look after them. The government helps them and provides social security for them through LokprasarPrakalpo. The folk artistes who are above 60 years of age are getting pension under LokprasarPrakalpo. At present, in West Bengal about 8,596 artistes have been receiving Rs. 1000 per month.
Retainer fee for the artistes
The enlisted folk artistes under the age of 60 years in LokprasarPrakalpo, who are engaged in publicity campaign in different departments, have been receiving Rs. 1000 per month as retainer fee. Till now approximately 1,94,300 folk artistes have been receiving the retainer fee.
Utilisation of services of the Folk Artistes for the publicity of Development Projects
Government is in the mission of publicising its Flagship Programme through LokprasarPrakalpo among the people. For instance, the Folk Artistes are being utilized for disseminating information regarding the schemes like Kannyasree, Yubasree, Sikshasree etc. and programmes like Nirmal Bangla, SarboSikhsaAvijan etc. to the common people. Initiative has been taken for arranging 4/5 nos. of programme for each artistes. A yearlong campaign is organised through mobile Tableau Vans where folk artists are engaged by rotation in each district and sub division.
Following table shows the breakup of enlisted folk artists in districts:
Enlisted Folk Artistes
Name of the Districts Total Enlisted F.A.s
1 Cooch Behar 9,268
2 Alipurduar 2,523
3 Jalpaiguri 2,740
4 Darjeeling 2,879
5 kalimpong 451
6 Uttar Dinajpur 16,138
7 Dakshin Dinajpur 3,932
8 Malda 2,335
9 Murshidabad 13,884
10 Nadia 6,814
11 North 24 Parganas 11,306
12 South 24 Parganas 6,090
13 Howrah 1,744
14 Hooghly 11,008
15 Purba Medinipur 11,491
16 Paschim Medinipur 12,835
17 Purulia 23,738
18 Jhargram 13,566
19 Bankura 13,993
20 Purba Bardhaman 13,277
21 Paschim Bardhaman 1,419
22 Birbhum 12,869
Initiative has been taken to organise workshops in each district with the assistance of the researchers on folk culture for upgrading the traditional folk forms for presentation to new generations in a more attractive way.
LokprasarPrakalpo has already achieved a great success through its implementation. The so called neglected rural folk artistes of Bengal are taking part in this scheme with great enthusiasm.