LAHORE - The Punjab government has planned to launch “Artist Khidmat Card Scheme” to give financial assistance to the artists who are unable to make their both ends meets as they have grown old and do not find work.

The scheme is for artists who have spent 25 years contributing to the different genres like film, TV, radio, theater, music, dance, painting and calligraphy.

This was announced at cheque distribution ceremony held at Adbi Bethak, Lahore Arts Council on Tuesday. Minister of Information & Culture Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman distributed cheques among the deserving artists.

Few notable mentions included the famous character of Aninakwalajin, Zaqoota, (Munna Lahori) senior artist Masood Akhtar, Bil Batoori (Nusrat Ara) and several others. This card scheme will be launched on the March 23, 2017 by Punjab CM Shehbaz Sharif.

The minister said artists were an asset and should not be neglected.

“At first we decided to distribute funds of Rs 20 million but then Punjab CM asked to increase the amount Rs 50 million. Every month the funds will be transferred in their account and they can withdraw cash through ATM card,” Mian Shuja said. “In first stage, artists who got Pride of Performance awards will get the cards to be followed later by other artists,” he added.  The minister said there was no doubt that the campaign will act as a foundational milestone and will be remembered as the very first effort for the collective welfare and the prosperity of the artist community.

MPA of PML-N Kanwal Nauman said government is all set to launch Khidmat Card Scheme with an aim to provide financial grants and social protection to artists in unfavourable circumstances. “It’s a step towards providing welfare to the artist living in various tehsils and districts across Punjab,” she said.