Committee on Zonal Cultural Centres headed by Mani Shankar Aiyar recently presented its Report to the Union Culture Ministry. The recommendations will be processed by Ministry of Culture and appropriate steps will be taken to revamp the functioning of the ZCCs to further enhance their outreach. With a view to preserve, promote and disseminate the plurality of India’s culture and traditional arts of all the States, Government of India had in 1985/1986 set up seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) with their headquarters at Patiala, Udaipur, Nagpur, Thanjavur, Allahabad,
Kolkata and Dimapur. The Central Advisory Board on Culture, in a meeting chaired by the Prime Minister in his capacity as the then Culture Minister had suggested a review of the functioning of the ZCCs over the last 25 years. To review the functioning and performance of the seven ZCCs, the Ministry of Culture, vide its Resolution dated 12 August 2010 had constituted a Committee on ZCCs. The committee included Mani Shankar Aiyar (Chairman), Dr. Sitakant Mahapatra and Amol Palekar. The Committee was initially formed for tenure of 4 months. However to enable the Committee to complete its task, its term was extended for a further period of 4 months, ending on 11 April 2011.
The committee was formed to serve the following objectives:
- The committee had to examine the action taken on the recommendations made by Prof. U. R. Ananthamurthy Committee that was constituted in 1994.
- It had to ascertain whether the ZCCs have fulfilled the objectives for which they were set up and reasons for the shortcomings.
- The committee had also to examine whether all/some of the ZCCs need to be wound up and/or merged with some other existing body/bodies.
- The committee was also expected to suggest whether any expansion of the ZCCs network is called for.
Functioning of the Committee: The Committee held consultations and several meetings during its tenure. It held discussions with several eminent cultural personalities apart from the present and past Directors of the ZCCs. The Committee members also undertook visits of the ZCCs to understand for themselves the actual position on the ground.