While everything under the sun will now fall under one tax regime, it was only natural to get all artistes under one tag. The Telangana Department of Language and Culture has launched a website to create a database of all artistes.
Mamidi Harikrishna, director of the department and the man behind the initiative, talks about why this is one step ahead when compared to other Indian states. “When everyone is trying to make everything systematic, why should the artiste community be at a loss? It’s a step to encourage cultural exchange and get the unorganised community together. It was perfect timing to launch the website,” Harikrishna says.
Artistes can register on the website and get an identity card. Harikrishna says, “All artistes including folk and tribal dancers, mime and mimicry artistes, theatre persons, painters and sculptors will now be categorised. Once the card is issued, the artiste community will stand a chance to get benefits from the government.” Not everyone can register themselves to avail benefits. Artistes need to upload their work along with their government-issued ID card like Aadhaar. Once Harikrishna goes through it and approves it, the card will be issued. Then they can take a printout and laminate it. Each card will have a unique number. So far, 110 artistes have registered. “As it was my idea, I have taken up the responsibility to check every work before approving. Even with my busy schedule, I take time to go through it and soon will be approving and issuing cards,” he says.
As of now, the only card that has been issued is to Dr K.V. Ramanachary, an IAS officer and theatre and film artiste.
So, what more can be done with the state-issued ID card? “The artiste community as a whole stands to gain a lot from it, especially those who reside in districts. We will be able to plan out more initiatives for the community’s betterment. When we have a database of artistes from every corner of the state, it will be easier for us to organise concerts and events,” he says.
Even if an artiste does not register with the government, do they stand to lose out on anything? “Our aim through this programme is to systemise the community for the benefit of all. We can only urge all of them to come together and support each other for a greater purpose,” he says. A win-win situation for all the artistes from the state!