Kolkata-based social activist Sundeep Bhutoria writes to PM Modi to include Literature in CSR initiatives

Kolkata: In a letter to the Prime Minister, Sri Narendra Modi, Kolkata-based social and cultural activist, Sundeep Bhutoria, has appealed to the Honourable Prime Minister of India to include `Literature’ as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity for corporates.

Sharing the letter on his X handle, Mr Bhutoria wrote “… appealed to the Hon’ble PM of India for corporate financial support 4 art & artists. CSR initiatives often overlook art, culture & lit due to challenges in identifying beneficiaries. Many cultural torch-bearers struggle and need platforms and opportunities to thrive.”

Bhutoria wrote, without financial support from the corporate sector such events by foundations will be impossible to conduct regularly. “For this, it is my humble request that our corporations be encouraged to earmark some of their CSR funds for artistic and cultural endeavours for our country. We request the concerned ministry to also include literature in CSR initiatives for promoting the diverse languages of our country,” he wrote.

“Access to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funding will be the lifeblood for India’s artistic and cultural renaissance, under your inspirational leadership,” wrote Mr Bhutoria, who is also the Trustee of Kolkata-based NGO, Prabha Khaitan Foundation.

Three-time Grammy Award winner, Ricky Kej, Padmabhushan and Grammy Award winner, Pt Vishwamohan Bhatt, and actress Nandita Das lauded Mr Bhutoria’s appeal to reach out to the Prime Minister to include `Literature’ as CSR activity.

“This is a fantastic initiative and appeal by my dear friend Sundeep Bhutoria. CSR initiatives need to include art, culture and literature. As we all know, this is our soft power and our might! I hope this gets enough support,” wrote Ricky Kej in his X handle.

“It is very important to think for preservation and preparation of Classicial and folk arts. Let us all support this movement and request our Honourable Prime Minister of India to consider,” wrote Pt Vishwamohan Bhatt via his X handle.

“Thank you for taking the initiative to speak for the art and craft communities that really struggle for sustenance. Hope it becomes part of the CSR funds,” said Nandita Das via her X handle.

Mr Bhutoria has supported the efforts of national and regional writers, musicians, dancers, artistes and artisans in promoting their craft. “We work across the country for the sustenance and spread of Indian culture and heritage through performance and discussion. We also provide books to educational institutions in rural and semi-urban areas. Most of our events are held in Tier B and C cities, where availability of books is restricted and many readers can’t afford to buy new books,” he informed.

Currently, the list of permitted CSR activities under Section 135 read with Schedule-VII of Companies Act, 2013, says – Protection of national heritage, art and culture including restoration of buildings and sites of historical importance and works of art; setting up public libraries; promotion and development of traditional art and handicrafts. Notably, there is no specific mention of literature.