Leaders of Sammilita Sangskritik Jote, an umbrella platform of cultural organisations in the country, and other organisations pressed for 11-point demands including allocation of one per cent of the total national budget for the cultural sector.
The demands were announced at a press conference on Saturday morning at Teacher-Student Centre of Dhaka University.
The conference was attended by Sammilita Sanskritik Jote president Ghulam Quddus, former president of SSJ Nasiruddin Yousuff, International Theatre Institute honorary president Ramendu Majumder, Bangladesh Path Natok Parishad president Mannan Hira, Bangladesh Ganosangeet Samannay Parishad president Fakir Alamgir, Bangladesh Group Theatre Federation secretary general Kamal Bayezid, Bangladesh Abritti Sangathan Samannay Parishad general secretary Ahkamullah and others.
They termed the allocation of Tk 575 crore, which is 0.11 per cent of the proposed national budget of Tk 5,23,190 crore for the fiscal year 2019-20, poor and disappointing.
They demanded at least one per cent of the total proposed budget to be allocated for the cultural sector.
‘It is ridiculous that the government, which speaks so often of promoting and disseminating cultural practices across the country to fight extremism and anomalies, allocates such a poor sum to cultural sector,’ said Ghulam Quddus.
‘We have time and again asked the government to allocate adequate budget for the cultural sector. Investment in the cultural sector can make the country a better place to live in devoid of extremism and other social menaces,’ said Ramendu Majumdar.
‘Without proper attention to the cultural sector, without cultural development, all other developments would be incomplete,’ said Nasiruddin Yousuff.
SSJ also demanded, among others, setting up of branches of Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy at every upazilla in the country, building modern and open stages across the country to facilitate theatre and jatra troupes, introduction of salary-grants for cultural activists and facilitation of cultural organisations and troupes.
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