Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered a thorough review of the prestigious Yash Bharti Awards started by Mulayam Singh Yadav in 1994, saying that giving them away to undeserving persons lowers the prestige of such an honour.
The chief minister, during a presentation of the Culture Department on Thursday night, directed officials to thoroughly review the criteria and norms for these awards. Necessary action would be taken after the review, an official spokesman on Friday quoted the CM as saying.
Adityanath has been reviewing the schemes of the previous Akhilesh Yadav government including the Samajwadi Pension Yojana, Gomti river front project, Smartphone Yojana and cycle track project.
Mulayam, who was then the chief minister, had instituted the Yash Bharti Award, which is the highest award of the Uttar Pradesh government.
It is given to personalities for making notable contributions to the fields of literature, social work, medicine, film, science, journalism, handicrafts, culture, education, music, drama, sports, industry and astrology. Besides a commendation letter, shawl and Rs 11 lakh, it carries a pension of Rs 50,000 per month on demand.
After it was discontinued by the Mayawati government, the Akhilesh Yadav government restarted it in 2015 but there were allegations that the prize money of Rs 11 lakh and Rs 50,000 monthly pension was being handed out arbitrarily.
Notable recipients of the Yash Bharti awards are Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Naseeruddin Shah and Nawazuddin Siddiqui among others.
During the presentation, Adityanath also stressed on the review of the Maitreya project in Kushinagar district as farmers whose land has been acquired for it have lodged a protest.
The Maitreya project envisages erecting statues of Maitreya Buddha and as per initial plans a 152-metre (500 ft) statue was to be built in either Kushinagar or Bodh Gaya. These plans have since changed and the Maitreya Project now intends to construct relatively modest statues in both towns.
Adityanath also directed officials to explore the possibility of starting branches of Lucknow-based Bhatkhande Music Institute in other districts and linking the pension scheme for old and poor artistes to the central scheme to increase its amount, the spokesman added.