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Culture Ministry’s mega plan: Rs 27,000 crores for development of ASI monuments, museums, historical sites including Hampi and Rakhigarhi

600 sites under the protection of ASI are to be provided with world-class amenities. 50 monuments have been identified for illumination projects and special interpretation centres are to be established.

The Culture Ministry has submitted a 5-year plan to the fifteenth finance commission. As per an exclusive report in the Economic Times, the plan draws a roadmap for a 5-year plan to bring significant developments in revamping of archaeologically important sites, building museums and education centres to train, maintain and propagate Indic culture through art forms and courses.

About a quarter of the Rs 27,000 crores budget has been kept aside for the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), which will increase ASI’s annual budget by 7 times.

The report also mentions that the culture ministry wants to set up 100 museums on the lines of the Acropolis museum in Greece, a National Centre for Performing Arts, and an Indian Institute of Culture to provide training in archaeology, museology, conservation and related fields. A national-level festival called Jashn-e-Kashmir to celebrate the folk art of Jammu and Kashmir is also included in the proposal.

Archeological Survey of India

The ASI’s current resources of about Rs 974.56 crores are set to be increased to Rs 6,769 crores. Massive infrastructure changes and developmental projects have been planned to reduce waiting time for visitors to 42 monuments. 600 sites under the protection of ASI are to be provided with world-class amenities. 50 monuments have been identified for illumination projects and special interpretation centres are to be established. A special Experimental Archeology Museum has bene planned at Vadnagar, PM Modi’s hometown at an ASI site.

Authentic Reconstruction of sites

The ministry is reportedly exploring technological options for ‘authentic reconstruction’ of archaeological sites including Indus Valley sites such as Dholavira and Rakhigarhi. 25 organisations, including IITs, have reportedly submitted proposals for providing technological help, experts on Indus Valley Civilisation are being recruited too. IIT Bombay will reportedly become the nodal agency for the institutions participating in technological work.

Indian Institute of Culture

The ministry plans to merge education and training institutes to establish the IIC. The Institute of Archaeology, National Museum Institute and National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property (NRLC) are to be the key centres in the plan. The IIC is to offer graduate, postgraduate and research degrees, apart from diplomas and short-term courses in areas related to Archeology, museology and cultural economy.

Other initiatives

A cultural mapping programme, conceptualised by former culture minister Mahesh Sharma, that aims to bring artists and buyers together in a single authentic platform in the form of an aggregator is also being revised and funded. The project of creation of a dossier of artists across India that was criticised by a parliamentary panel led by TMC’s Derek O’Brien as ‘aimless’ is being revised with additional funding.

Other plans of the ministry’s 5-year project include revamping and infrastructure development of various existing museums and libraries across the country.

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