2 Dec : With thousands of heritage sites remaining unprotected in the country, the government has decided to set up a Special Commission which will take steps to ensure safety of these structures.
"The government will bring a legislation for setting up National Commission for Heritage Sites," Culture and Tourism Minister Ambika Soni said at the Asian Regional Cooperation Conference at New Delhi on Tuesday.
The government has already launched a National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities at a cost of Rs 90 crore. The funds under the programme will be increased from Rs 400crore to Rs 500 crore to cover the entire country, she said.
Soni’s announcement assumes significance as an estimated 70,000 monuments are unprotected in the country.Archaeological Survey of India, the central agency to protect the ancient monuments, is taking care of about 6,700 monuments across the country.
"Only a small fraction of the monuments are protected under various statues of central and state governments. Most of them still remain unprotected," she said.Soni also said public awareness and educating people will help protection of heritage sites.
The Culture Ministry is in the process of launching a Cultural Heritage Young Leadership Programme with an objective to reach schools, colleges and universities and inculcate a deeper understanding about the cultural heritage among the young generation.
The country needs capacity building for management of heritage and cultural resources, she said. The ministry is proposing to set up a Centre for Management of Cultural Resources.
The centre would impart special training to personnel for better protection of heritage sites. Besides, there are proposals to set up a network of Indian Institute of Art and Culture on the lines of IIMs and IITs, Soni said.
The minister stressed on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for preserving the heritage sites.She said that the Asian countries share close historical, cultural and economic links. India is making all efforts to expand, strengthen and deepen these links through its ‘Look East’ policy.
Planning Commission Deputy Chairman M S Ahluwalia said it was becoming difficult on the part of the government to provide the resource required for the preservation of heritage sites in the country."In a country like India, where health and education are main issues to be addressed, adequate money is not provided to heritage preservation. So PPP model is ideal for preservation of heritage," he said.
Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) President Karan Singh said terrorists and climate change pose a threat to heritage sites.He said the country should set up more museums to showcase the glorious history of India.