• Thursday, Nov 21, 2019
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Sommilito Sangskritik Jote criticizes budget cuts to culture sector

  • Published at 05:54 pm June 15th, 2019
Budget cut
Sommilito Sangskritik Jote members at a press conference at the Teacher Student Centre of the University of Dhaka on Saturday | Facebook

They also demanded that at least one percent of the total budget, Tk5231.9 crore, be allocated to the culture sector

Sommilito Sangskritik Jote—an organization of Bangladeshi cultural personalities and activists—organized a press conference at the Teacher Students Centre of the University of Dhaka on Saturday. The cultural activists present at the press conference, led by the organization’s president Golam Kuddus, criticized the eight percent cut to the Ministry of Culture in the FY2019-20 proposed budget. 

They also demanded that at least one percent of the total budget—Tk5231.9 crore—be allocated to the culture sector. Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal unveiled a Tk523,190 crore proposed budget for FY2019-20 in the parliament on Thursday. Currently, the budget proposal for the Ministry of Culture is Tk575 crore. 

Renowned cultural personalities have commented that this budget is not satisfactory for the cultural arena of the country. Last year, the proposed budget was Tk510 crore and the revised budget was Tk625 crore – which is eight percent less than last year.

Celebrated cultural personalities took to Facebook to criticize this decision.

Sommilito Sangskritik Jote President Golam Kuddus said at the press conference: “This sector has never been given proper importance. They think we just roam around singing and dancing. 

A budget reflects the policies and ideals of a government. On the one hand, the government says that ‘we want to build a bond of friendship among all the people of our nation, who will be culturally friendly and inspired by a non-communal spirit.’ However, the reality is that the budget does not reflect the words of the government.”

Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation Director General Kamal Bayezid said in a recent press release: “This allocation was not expected from a government who claims that they are a pro- liberation government. These developments—to please the beneficiaries of the so-called wealthier class who are taking advantage of our liberation—will not bring welfare to the average citizen.” 

Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation has also called a nationwide protest starting on Saturday afternoon. The protest has started in front of the entrance of the capital’s Shilpakala Academy in Segunbagicha. The federation's five-day-long protest will simultaneously be held all over the country where the Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation has branches.