The Centre plans to show tangible progress and, wherever possible, appoint fresh faces at the helm of several premier cultural organisations which have been lying headless, by the end of the month, commemorating one year of the NDA government.
The process to fill up the top vacancies in at least 10 organisations under the Culture ministry has been expedited keeping May end as the deadline, sources have confirmed.
National Archives, the Gandhi Smriti Darshan Society (GSDS), are among those require formal appointments at the top. The government had taken control of Lalit Kala Akademi last month, while the director of the National Museum was transferred to the sports ministry.
Sources said the NDA government, which has been invoking Mahatma Gandhi in multiple platforms of governance and politics, wants the GSDS to be headed by someone of its choice to promote the “Gandhi brand” proactively. Tourism and Culture minister Mahesh Sharma has directed that the 10 shortlisted candidates for the post of director of the organisation will be interviewed on May 10. The 10 were shortlisted from an initial list of 39.
For National Archives, currently under Sreya Guha, Joint Secretary in the Culture ministry, the advertisement for a new Director General and for the National Museum the hunt for a new director are among moves being taken to see to it that by the end of the month the government has on its CV the progress made in the filling up of vacancies under the Culture ministry within one year of coming into office.
The ministry is going to get a new secretary next week as NK Sinha, a 1980-batch Bihar-cadre IAS officer, has been appointed and it is being said the processes will gain further speed after that. Having appointed KK Mittal, Additional Secretary as the head of the Lalit Kala Akademi, which, as per the relevant clauses of the Akademi’s constitution, empowers the government to keep it under its control for three years, there may not be a hurry to fill that post immediately, sources said.
The President’s Office had forwarded complaints from a group of 65 artistes alleging gross violations of rules and mismanagement at the Akademi after which the government had to intervene.
The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, which too, will require a new head as the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has not approved the proposal for extension of the previous one. The process to fill up the vacancy at the Indian Museum is also being firmed up, sources said.
Earlier this week, the government reconstituted the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library Society with 34 members including MJ Akbar, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Bibek Debroy, Swapan Dasgupta Infosys founder Narayana Murthy, among others. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday chaired the 41st Annual General Meeting of the organisation with the new members.