Culture: Indian government data

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Culture: Indian government data

CULTURE plays an important role in the development agenda of any nation. The mandate of the Ministry of Culture revolves around the functions like preservation and conservation of Ancient Cultural Heritage and promotion of Art and Culture both Tangible and Intangible in Country. The functional spectrum of the Ministry is rather wide, ranging from generating Culture awareness at the grassroot level to Promoting Cultural exchanges at an international Level. The administrative set up consists of various Bureaus and Divisions of the Ministry headed by a Secretary, with its two attached offices, six subordinate offices and thirty three autonomous organizations, which are fully funded by the Government.

Broadly, this Ministry is working on the protection, development and promotion of all types of Heritage and culture namely, Tangible Heritage, Intangible Heritage and Knowledge Heritage. In addition the Ministry also harbours the responsibility of Gandhian Heritage and Commemoration of important historical events and centenaries of great personalities.



To promote and propagate understanding of Indian art, both within and outside the country, the Government of India established Lalit Kala Akademi (National Akademi of Arts) at New Delhi on 5 August 1954. The Akademi has regional centres called Rashtriya Lalit Kala Kendras at Lucknow, Kolkata, Chennai, Garhi in New Delhi, Shimla and Bhubaneswar with workshop facilities in painting, sculpture, print-making and ceramics.

Since its inception, the Akademi has been organising national exhibition of contemporary Indian art with 15 national awards, each of Rs. 50,000. Every three year, the Akademi also organises Triennial India, an International exhibition of contemporary art in New Delhi. Since 1955, the Akademi has organised 52 National Exhibitions of Art has presented the National Award to 545 artists.

The Akademi honours eminent artists and art historians every year by electing them as Fellows of the Akademi. To propagate Indian art outside, the Akademi regularly participates in International Biennials and Triennials abroad and also organises exhibitions of works of art from other countries. To foster contracts with artists from outside, it sponsors exchange of artists with other countries under the various Cultural Exchange Programmes and Agreements of the Government.

The Lalit Kala Akademi accords recognition to art institutions/associations and extends financial assistance to these bodies as well as State Academies. It also gives scholarships to deserving young artists belonging to its regional centres. Under its publication programme, the Akademi brings out monographs on the works of Indian contemporary artists in Hindi and English and books on contemporary, traditional, folk and tribal arts authored by eminent writers and art critics. The Akademi also brings out bi-annual art journals, Lalit Kala Contemporary (English), Lalit Kala Ancient (English) and Samkaleen Kala (Hindi). Apart from these, it brings out large size multi-colour reproductions of contemporary paintings and graphics from time to time. The Akademi has started a regular programme on research and documentation. Scholars are given financial assistance to undertake projects in contemporary projects on various aspects of Indian society and culture.


Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, may be regarded as a pioneer in the process of creation of modern India that led politically to India’s freedom in 1947. The ephemeral quality of the arts, and the need for their preservation led to the adapting of a democratic system in which a common man had the opportunity to learn, practice and propagate the art. Within the first few decades of the twentieth century, public perception of responsibility for both preservation and development of the arts had started inclining towards the state.

The first comprehensive public appeal to government in this direction was made in 1945, when the Asiatic Society of Bengal submitted a proposal for the creation of a National Cultural Trust consisting of three academies - an Academy of Dance, Drama, and Music, an Academy of Letters, and an Academy of Art and Architecture.

The entire question was reconsidered after independence, in a Conference on Art held in Kolkata in 1949, and two Conferences, on Letters, and the other on Dance, Drama, and Music, held in New Delhi in 1951. These Conferences convened by the Government of India finally recommended the creation of three national academies: an Academy of Dance, Drama, and Music, an Academy of Letters and an Academy of Art.

The National Academy of Dance, Drama, and Music, named Sangeet Natak Akademi, was the first of these entities to be established by a resolution of the Ministry of Education, headed by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, signed on 31 May 1952. On 28 January 1953, Sangeet Natak Akademi was inaugurated by the then President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad.

The Akademi’s charter of functions contained in the 1952 resolution was expanded along the original lines in 1961, when Sangeet Natak Akademi was reconstituted by the Government as a society and registered under the Societies registration Act of 1860 (as amended in 1957). These functions are set down in the Akademi’s Memorandum of Association, adopted at its registration as a society on 11 September 1961.

Since its inception the Akademi has worked towards building up a unified structure of support for the practice of music, dance and drama in India. This support encompasses traditional and modern forms, and urban as well as rural environments. The festivals of music, dance and drama presented or promoted by the Akademi are held all over India. The great masters of the performing arts have been elected as Fellows of the Akademi. The Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards conferred annually on eminent artists and scholars are considered the most coveted honours in the field of performing arts. Thousands of institutions across the country, including many in the remote areas, engaged in teaching or promotion of music, dance and theatre have received financial assistance for their work, from the Akademi, as do researchers, authors and publishers in relevant disciplines.

The extensive recording and filming of the performing arts carried on by the Akademi since its inception have resulted in a large archive of audio-and videotape, 16-mm film, photographs and transparencies, and remains the single most important resource for researchers in the field of performing arts of India.

The Akademi’s Gallery of Musical Instruments has a collection of more than 600 instruments of prominence and has been the source of a great deal of published documentation over the years. The library of Sangeet Natak Akademi receives about 150 Indian and Foreign Periodicals. The total collection of the Library now stands at 24506 books. The Audio Visual library includes a large number of discs, casettes and audio & video CDs. The collection of Audio visuals now stands 9827 discs, 761 pre recorded cassettes from the archives of Akademi, 92 video cassettes of dance, drama, music.

The Akademi also establishes and looks after institutions and projects of national importance in the field of performing arts. Chronologically, the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipuri Dance Academy in Imphal, the premier institution in Manipuri dance and music established in 1954, is the first of these institutions. In 1959 the Akademi established the National School of drama and in 1964 the Kathak Kendra, both being based in Delhi. The Akademi’s other projects of national importance are in Kutiyattam theatre of Kerala, which commenced in 1991 received recognition from UNESCO as a Master piece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity in 2001. The project on Chhau dance of Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal began in 1994. The project support to Sattriya music, dance, theatre and allied arts of Assam was started in 2002.

As the apex body specialising in the performing arts, the Akademi also renders advice and assistance to the Government of India in the task of formulating and implementing policies and projects in the field. Additionally, the Akademi carries a part of the responsibilities of the State for fostering cultural contacts between various regions in India, and between India and other countries. The Akademi has held exhibitions and major festivals in foreign countries.



Two main schools of classical music—Hindustani and Carnatic continue to survive through oral tradition being passed on by teachers to disciples. This has led to the existence of family traditions called gharanas and sampradayas.


Dance in India has an unbroken tradition of over 2,000 years. Its themes are derived from mythology, legends and classical literature, two main divisions being classical and folk. Classical dance forms are based on ancient dance discipline and have rigid rules of presentation. Important among them are Bharata Natyam, Kathakali, Kathak, Manipuri, Kuchipudi and Odissi. Bharata Natyam though it derives its roots from Tamil Nadu, has developed into an all India form. Kathakali is a dance form of Kerala. Kathak is a classical dance form revitalised as a result of Mughal influence on Indian culture. Manipur has contributed to a delicate, lyrical style of dance called Manipuri, while Kuchipudi is a dance form owing its origin to Andhra Pradesh. Odissi from Orissa, once practised as a temple dance, is today widely exhibited by artistes across the country. Folk and tribal dances are of numerous patterns.

Both classical and folk dances owe their present popularity to institutions like Sangeet Natak Akademi and other training institutes and cultural organisations. The Akademi gives financial assistance to cultural institutions and awards fellowships to scholars, performers and teachers to promote advanced study and training in different forms of dance and music, especially those which are rare.


Theatre in India is as old as her music and dance. Classical theatre survives only in some places. Folk theatre can be seen in its regional variants practically in every region. There are also professional theatres, mainly city-oriented. Besides, India has a rich tradition of puppet theatre, prevalent forms being puppets, rod puppets, glove puppets and leather puppets (shadow theatre). There are several semiprofessional and amateur theatre groups involved in staging plays in Indian languages and in English.


Sahitya Akademi is the Indian National Academy of Letters meant to promote the cause of Indian literature through publications, translations, seminars, workshops, cultural exchange programmes and literary meets organised all over the country. The Akademi was founded in March 1954 as an autonomous body fully funded by the Department of Culture. It was registered as a Society in 1956 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The Akademi has recognised 24 languages. It has an Advisory Board for each of the languages that suggests various programmes and publications in the concerned languages. There are four Regional Boards to promote regional interaction among the languages of the North, West, East and South. Besides its Head Office in New Delhi, it has four offices:in Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangaluru and Chennai. The Akademi has two Translation Centres at Bangalore and Kolkata, besides a Project Office at Shillong for promotion of oral and tribal literature and an Archive of Indian literature in Delhi. It maintains a unique multilingual library in New Delhi and at its regional offices at Bangaluru and Kolkata, having about 1.5 lakh books in over 25 languages.

The three fellowships by Sahitya Akademi are:-

1. Sahitya Akademi Honorary Fellowhip

2. Anand Fellowship

3. Premchand Fellowship

Sahitya Akademi Honorary Fellowship is the highest honour conferred by the Akademi on a writer, by electing him as its Fellow. This honour is reserved for the 'immortals of literature' and limited to twenty-one only at any given time. Anand Fellowship instituted in 1996 in the name of the great scholar and aesthete Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy is offered to scholars from Asian Countries to pursue literary projects of their choice. Sahitya Adademi also instituted a Fellowship named after Premchand during his 125th Brith Anniversary in 2005. This Fellowship is given to scholars doing research on Indian literature or to creative writers from the countries of the SAARC region other than India. Every year since its inception in 1954, the Sahitya Akademi Awards Prizes to the Most outstanding books of literary merit published in any of the major Indian languages recognised by the Akademi. The award amount, which was Rs. 5,000 at the time of inception, had been enhanced to Rs. 10,000 from 1983, Rs. 25,000 from 1988, Rs. 40, 000 from 2001 and is now Rs. 50,000 since 2003. The first Awards were given in 1955.

The Akademi publishes books in 24 languages including translations of Awardwinning works, monographs on the great pioneers of Indian literature, histories of literature, Indian and foreign classics in translation, anthologies of fiction, poetry and prose, biographies, Register of Translators, Who’s Who of Indian Writers, National Bibliography of Indian Literature and Encyclopedia of Indian Literature. So far, the Akademi has published over 6,000 books in these different categories. It has three journals, Indian Literature (bi-monthly in English), Samkaleena Bharatiya Sahitya (bi-monthly in Hindi) and Samskrita Pratibha (half-yearly in Sanskrit). Every year the Akademi publishes 250-300 books on an average. It has certain special projects like the Ancient Indian Literature, Medieval Indian Literature and Modern Indian Literature together constituting ten volumes of the best of Indian writing over five millennia. It has also launched a new project Encyclopedia of Indian Poetics. Sahitya Akademi holds a number of regional, national and international seminars every year on various topics in literature, literary history and aesthetics.

The Akademi also regularly holds Translation Workshops.

The Akademi holds an annual week-long ‘Festival of Letters’, usually in February with Award-giving ceremony, Samvatsar Lecture and a National Seminar. The Akademi also introduced a new series of programmes entitled Sur Sahitya as part of the Golden Jubilee celebrations in 2004-05.


The National School of Drama (NSD) - one of the foremost theatre institutions in the world and the only one of its kind in India was set up by Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1959. Later in 1975, it became an autonomous organisation, totally financed by Department of Culture. The objective of NSD is to train students in all aspects of theatre, including theatre history, production, scene design, costume design, lighting, make-up, etc. The training course at NSD is of three years duration. Each year, 20 students are admitted to the course. The eligible applicants for admission to the course are screened through two stages. The Diploma of NSD is recognised by the Association of Indian Universities as equivalent to M.A. Degree for appointment as teachers in colleges/universities and for purposes of registration for Ph.D.

The School has a performing wing, a Repertory Company which was set up in 1964 with the dual purpose of establishing professional theatre on one hand and continuing with the regular experimental work on the other. The NSD has made a significant contribution in promoting children’s theatre. The Theatre-in-Education Company (renamed as Sanskar Rang Toli) was founded in 1989 and has been actively involved in production of plays for children, organising summer theatre workshops in the schools of Delhi and also promoting children’s theatre through Saturday Club.

Since 1998, the School has organised National Theatre Festival for Children christened ‘Jashne Bachpan’ every year. The first ever National Theatre Festival christened Bharat Rang Mahotsav was held from 18 March to 14 April 1999 to commemorate the 50th year of India’s Independence. Encouraged by the success of the first Bharat Rang Mahotsav, it has been made an annual feature. To reach a vast majority of theatre artists in various states with diverse languages and cultural backgrounds, who cannot have access to the regular training course provided by the School, a short-term teaching and training programme titled ‘Extention Programme’ was started in 1978. Under this programme, the School organises workshops in collaboration with the local theatre groups/ artists and these programmes are invariably held in the local languages. The workshops could be broadly divided under three categories, Production Oriented Workshops, Production Oriented Children Workshops and Teaching and Training Programme in Theatre. The School has also set up a Regional Research Centre at Bangalore to cater to the theatrical needs of the four Southern States and Puducherry.

Another important activity of the School is the publication of textbooks on theatre and arrange the translation of important books on theatre from English into Hindi.


The Indira Gandhi National Centre for th]e Arts (IGNCA) is a premier national institution engaged in the pursuit of knowledge on arts and culture and in the exploration of relationships of arts and culture with various disciplines of learning and diverse aspects of life. Established in 1987 in the memory of the Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, it is involved in multifarious activities such as research, publication, training, documentation, dissemination and networking and is poised to grow into a large repository of information pertaining to the arts in India. The IGNCA seeks to place the arts within the natural environment by providing a forum for creative and critical dialogue between the diverse arts, between the arts and sciences, between arts and the traditional and current knowledge systems. The IGNCA promotes interaction and understanding between diverse communities, regions, social strata, and between India and other parts of the world.

The IGNCA has six functional Units - Kala Nidhi, the multi-form library; Kala Kosa, devoted mainly to the study and publication of fundamental texts in Indian Languages; Janapada Sampada, engaged in lifestyle studies; Kaladarsana, the executive unit which transforms researches and studies emanating from the IGNCA into visible forms through exhibitions; Cultural Informatics Lab, which applies technology tools for cultural preservation and propagation; and Sutaradhara, the administrative section that acts as a spine supporting and coordinating all the activities. The Member Secretary is the Executive head both academic and administrative divisions. The IGNCA has a trust (Board of Trustees), which meets regularly to give general direction about the Centre's work. The Executive Committee, drawn from among the Trustees, functions under a Chairman. The Committee acts as a link between the Trust and the IGNCA.

The IGNCA has three Regional Centres in India

  • The IGNCA has a Southern Regional Centre (SRC) headquartered in

Bangaluru. Its establishment in 2001 was aimed at intensifying the Centre's studies on the southern region's art and cultural heritage.

  • The Centre's office in Varanasi is an extension of the Kalakosa Division. This

office gives academic input and support of Indological and Sanskrit studies of Kalakosa.

  • The field centre of the IGNCA for the North East is based in Guwahati. Its

main task is to collaborate in programmes relating to the culture-rich communities in the north eastern region.


The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) is one of the premier institutions working in the field of linking education with culture. The Centre was set up in May 1979 as an autonomous organisation by the Government of India. Today it operates under the administrative control of Ministry of Culture, Government of India. With headquarters in New Delhi, it has three regional centres at Udaipur Hyderabad and Guwahati.

The broad objectives of CCRT have been to revitalise the education system by creating an understanding and awareness among students about the plurality of the regional cultures of India and integrating this knowledge with education. The main thrust is on linking education with culture and making students aware of the importance of culture in all development programmes. One of the CCRT’s main functions is to conduct a variety of training programmes for in-service teachers drawn from all parts of the country. The training provides an understanding and appreciation of the philosophy, aesthetics and beauty inherent in Indian art and culture and focuses on formulating methodologies for incorporating a culture component, in curriculum teaching. This training also stresses the role of culture in science and technology, housing, agriculture, sports, etc. An important component of training is to create awareness amongst students and teachers of their role in solving environmental pollution problems and conservation and preservation of the natural and cultural heritage. To fulfill these objectives, the Centre organises variety of training programmes for teachers, educators, administrators and students throughout the country.

The CCRT organises academic programmes on Indian art and culture for foreign teachers and students on special request. Workshops are conducted in various art activities like drama, music, narrative art forms, etc., to provide practical training and knowledge in the arts and crafts. In these workshops, teachers are encouraged to develop programmes in which the art form can be profitably utilised to teach educational curriculum.

The CCRT organises various educational activities for school students, teachers and children belonging to governmental and non-governmental organisations under its extension and community feedback programmes which includes educational tours to monuments, museums, art galleries, craft centres, zoological parks and gardens, camps on conservation of natural and cultural heritage, camps on learning crafts using low cost locally available resources, lectures and demonstrations by artists and experts on various art forms, demonstrations by artists and craft persons in schools. These educational activities emphasise the need for the intellectual and aesthetic development of the students.

Over the years, CCRT has been collecting resources in the form of scripts, colour slides, photographs, audio and video recordings and films. Each year the CCRT’s documentation team conducts programmes in different parts of the country with the objective of reviving and encouraging the art and craft forms of rural India. The Centre also prepares publications, which attempt at providing an understanding and appreciation of different aspects of Indian art and culture.

One of the most important functions of CCRT is to implement the Cultural Talent Search Scholarship Scheme, which was taken over from the Department of Culture in 1982. The scheme provides scholarships to outstanding children in the age group of 10 to 14 years, studying either in recognised schools or belonging to families practicing traditional performing or other arts to develop their talent in various cultural fields particularly in rare art forms. The scholarships continue till the age of 20 years or the first year of a University degree.

The Centre has instituted CCRT Teachers Award which is given every year to selected teachers for the outstanding work done by them in the field of education and culture. The Award carries with it a citation, a plaque, an angavastram and a cash prize of Rs. 10,000.


Zonal Cultural Centres have been conceptualised with the aim of projecting cultural kinship which transcends territorial boundaries. The idea is to arouse awareness of the local cultures and to show how these merge into zonal identities and eventually into the rich diversity of India’s composite culture. These centres have already established themselves as a premier agency in the field of promotion, preservation and dissemination of culture in the entire country. They are not only promoting performing arts but also making a significant contribution in the associated field of literary and visual arts. The seven zonal cultural centres were established under this scheme during 1985-86 at Patiala, Kolkata, Thanjavur, Udaipur, Allahabad, Dimapur and Nagpur.

The participation of states in more than one zonal cultural centre according to their cultural linkage is a special feature of the composition of the zonal centres. With the approval of the Cabinet a Corpus fund for each ZCC was created by Government of India and the participating State Governments to enable the ZCCs to finance their activities from the interest earned on the investment of this Corpus Fund. The Government of India has provided a grant of Rs 5 crore to each ZCC and each constituent state has been provided Rs one crore. In the event of a State being a member of more than one centre, the State’s contribution would not exceed Rs one crore in all. From 1993 all the Zonal Cultural Centres have been sending their folk artistes for participation in the Republic Day Folk Dance Festival.

This festival is inaugurated by the Hon’ble President of India every year on 24th/ 25th January at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium in New Delhi. The Festival provides a unique opportunity for folk artistes to perform at the national level. A Crafts Fair is also held in the various zones along with the Republic Day Folk Dance Festival. Master craftsmen and artisans from various ZCCs participate in this Crafts Fair.

The Crafts Fair has been providing a valuable opportunity for crafts persons from different parts of India to exhibit their products as well as their process of manufacturing directly to the customers. Documentation of various Folk and Tribal Art forms especially those which are rare and on the verge of vanishing, is one of the main thrust areas of the ZCCs. Under the National Cultural Exchange Programme (NCEP), exchanges of artists, musicologists, performers and scholars between different regions within the country take place. It has been extremely useful in promoting awareness of different tribal/folk art forms in different parts of the country and thus a very useful expressions of the concept of unity within diversity of our country. A scheme of Theatre Rejuvenation has been started to provide an opportunity to students, actors. artists, directors and writers to perform on a common platform and to interact with each other. To promote new talents in the field of music and dance a scheme of Guru Shishya Parampara has been introduced where masters will be identified in the zone, pupil assigned to them and scholarship provided for the purpose. The ZCCs also provide promotion and marketing facilities to craftsmen through Shilpgrams. ZCCs have also started a new scheme for recognition and encouragement of young talents in which each ZCC will identify the different performing/folk art forms in their area and select one or two talented artists in each of the fields.



The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was established in 1861. It functions as an attached office of the Department of Culture. The organisation is headed by the Director General.

The major activities of the Archaeological Survey of India are :

i) Survey of archaeological remains and excavations;

ii) Maintenance and conservation of centrally protected monuments, sites and remains;

iii) Chemical preservation of monuments and antiquarian remains;

iv) Architectural survey of monuments;

v) Development of epigraphical research and numismatic studies;

vi) Setting up and re-organisation of site museums;

vii) Expedition abroad;

viii) Training in Archaeology;

ix) Publication of technical report and research works.

There are 24 Circles and 5 Regional Directorates through which the Archaeological Survey of India administer the work of preservation and conservation of monuments under its protection.

Under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, the ASI has declared three thousand six hundred and seventy five monuments/ sites to be of national importance in the country which includes twenty one properties that are inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO. Since its establishment one hundred and forty four years ago, the ASI has grown into a large organisation with an all India network of offices, branches and circles.

Three sites, namely, Champaner - Pavagarh Archaeological Park in Gujarat, ChhatrapatiShiva ji Terminus (formerly Victoria Teminus) Station in Mumbai and the Brihadisvara temple complex, Gangakondacholapuram and the Airavatesvaira temple complex, Darasuram as an extension to the Brihadisvara temple complex, Thanjavur (now commonly called as the Great Living Chola Temples) have been inscribed on the World Heritage List of UNESCO in 2004.

Nomination dossiers for the following sites have been sent to the World Heritage Centre for inscription on the World Heritage List of UNESCO:(i) Shri Harminder Sahib (Golden Temple) at Amritsar, Punjab. (ii) Majuli Island in Midstream of river Brahmaputra in Assam. (iii) Valley of Flowers as an extension to the Nanda Devi National Park in Uttaranchal. (iv) Red Fort, Delhi (a deferred nomination).

The total number of individual structures being maintained by the ASI is over five thousand. The activities of its various wings are as under; Underwater Archaeology Wing:Search, study and preservation of cultural heritage lying submerged in inland or territorial waters are among the principal functions of the Underwater Archaeology Wing. It carries out exploration and excavation in Arabian Sea as well as in Bay of Bengal.

Science Branch: The Science Branch of the Survey with its headquarters at Dehradun and field laboratories in different parts of the country carries out chemical preservation of monuments, antiquities, manuscripts, paintings, etc. Laboratories of Science Branch at Dehradun have undertaken the following Scientific Projects:(1) Evaluation of new materials as preservative coatings and strengthened for stone, terracotta, bricks & adobe structures. (2) Scientific studies related to conservation of ancient lime plaster. (3) Evaluation of physical characteristics of plaster cement with addition of rapid hardening plaster cement in different proportions.

Horticulture Branch: The Horticulture Branch of the ASI maintains gardens in about two hundred and eighty seven centrally protected monuments/sites located in different parts of the country. The branch provides periodic plants to be used in gardens by developing base nurseries at Delhi, Agra, Srirangapatnam and Bhubaneswar.

Epigraphy Branch: The Epigraphy Branch at Mysore carries out research work in Sanskrit and Dravidian languages while the one at Nagpur carries out research work in Arabic and Persian.

Expeditions Abroad: The ASI has taken up the conservation project of Ta Prohm, Cambodia under the ITEC programme of Ministry of External Affairs with an outlay of Rs. 19.51 crore. The conservation project has been started as per the assurance of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, during his visits to Cambodia in April and November 2002, on the request of the Royal Government of Cambodia for India’s assistance in Conservation and Restoration of Prasat Ta Prohm. The conservation project is for a period of ten years and is to be completed in five phases.

The ASI has commenced the conservation project from January 2004 onwards and it was formally launched in February 2004 in Cambodia.

2015: 278 monuments encroached upon

The Times of India, Dec 08 2015

Squatters rule 278 ASI-protected monuments across country

 Shocking as it may sound, 278 monuments under the protection of the Archaeological Survey of India have been encroached upon by individuals and groups. These monuments include Golconda Fort in Hyderabad, Sher Shah Tomb in Sasaram, Bihar, forts of Chittorgarh, Ranthambhor, Kumbhalgarh in Rajasthan, Clive House in 24 Parganas, Bengal, Nili Masjid in Hauz Khas, Sunehri Masjid near Red Fort in Delhi and many more. UP tops the list with 96 such monuments en croached. Karnataka has 57 monuments encroached upon, Maharashtra 30.


The National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities was launched on 19 March, 2007 with a budgetary out lay of Rs. 90 crore. Its mandate includes preparation of a National Register for Built Heritage, Sites and Antiques and setting up of a State level database on Built Heritage, Sites and Antiquarian wealth for information and dissemination to planners, researchers etc. and better management of such cultural resources. The time frame prescribed for the NMMA to accomplish its mandate is five years.


The National Mission for Manuscripts was launched by the Government in 2003 with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) as the nodal agency. Its primary objective is to reclaim India's inheritance of knowledge contained in the vast treasure of manuscripts. The Mission functions through different categories of centres established throughout the country. There are 46 Manuscripts Resource Centres, 33 Manuscripts Conservation Centres, 42 Manuscript Partner Centres and 300 Manuscripts Conservation Partner Centres.

Major activities of the NMM are:documentation of manuscripts through survey, preventive and curative conservation, conducting training courses and workshops on conservation and manuscript logy and paleography, documentation through digitization, research and publication and public outreach programmes to create public consciousness for preserving and dissemination of manuscripts.


The National Museum, which was set up in 1949 and which has been functioning as a subordinate office under the Ministry of Culture since 1960, houses over 2.6 lakh art objects dating from prehistoric era onwards. The main activities of the Museum are as follows: Exhibitions, Reorganisation/Modernisation of Galleries, Educational Activities and Outreach Programmes, Public Relations, Publications, Photo Documentation, Summer Holiday Programme, Memorial Lectures, Museum Corner, Photo Unit, Modelling Unit, Library, Conservation Laboratory, and Teaching and Workshop.


The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi was founded in 1954. The main aim of the NGMA is the promotion and development of contemporary Indian Art. The collection of NGMA inter-alia comprises 17858 works of art, representing about 1748 contemporary Indian artists. The collection has been built up mainly by purchase and also by gift. The NGMA’s important collections include paintings, sculpture, graphic arts and photographs. NGMA organises exhibitions from its collection and under Cultural Exchange Programme periodically. Several colour reproductions have been brought out. The objective of NGMA is to help people look at the works of modern art with understanding and sensitivity. Keeping this in view, NGMA Mumbai was inaugurated in 1996, while a new one is being set up at Bangalore.

The other important museuma are:Indian Museum Victoria Memorial Hall, Salarjung Museum and National Council of Science museum.

==NATIONAL MUSEUM INSTITUTE OF HISTORY OF ART, CONSERVATION AND MUSEOLOGY== The National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology, New Delhi, an autonomous organisation fully funded by the Ministry of Culture was established and declared a Deemed University in 1989. This is the only Museum University in India and is presently functioning at the first floor of National Museum, New Delhi. As per its Memorandum of Association, the Director General, National Museum is the ex-officio Vice-Chancellor of this University.

Main objectives:

(a) To provide education and training in the specialised areas of Art History, Conservation and Museology leading to the award of M.A. and Ph.D. Degrees in these three disciplines.

(b) A few short-term courses - India Art and culture, Art Appreciation and Bhartiya Kalanidhi (Hindi Medium) are also conducted to popularise the Indian culture.

(c) To organise seminars/workshops, conferences and special lectures on Museum Education, Art and Culture in a befitting manner so as to open new areas in this field.

==NATIONAL RESEARCH LABORATORY FOR CONSERVATION OF CULTURAL PROPERTY== The National Research Laboratory for Conservation of Cultural Property (NRLC), which was established in 1976, is a Subordinate Office of the Department of Culture, and is recognised by the Department of Science and Technology as a scientific institution of the Government of India. The aims and objectives of the NRLC are to develop conservation of cultural property in the country. To meet its objectives, NRLC provides conservation services and technical advice in matters concerning conservation to museums, archives, archaeology departments and other similar institutions, imparts training in different aspects of conservation, carries out research in methods and materials of conservation, disseminates knowledge in conservation and provides library services to conservators of the country. The headquarters of NRLC is situated at Lucknow, and to further the cause of conservation in the southern region of the country, a regional centre of the NRLC, the Regional Conservation Laboratory is functioning at Mysore. For more information visit NRLC at


The Institute was conceived in 1936 as one of the permanent memorials to Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886) on the occasion of his first birth centenary. It was formally established on 29 January 1938 as a branch centre of the Ramakrishna Mission founded by Swami Vivekananda to propagate the message of Vedanta as propounded by Sri Ramakrishna, whose basic teachings stressed: (i) the equality of all religions; (ii) the potential divinity of man; and (iii) service to man as a way of worshipping God - a new religion for mankind.

Dedicated to promote the ideal of the unity of mankind the Institute has endeavoured over the years to make people aware of the richness of the cultures of the World and also of the urgent need for inter-cultural appreciation, understanding and acceptance of each other’s points of view - an approach which is conducive to international understanding at the global level and national integration at home. The key note of everything the Institute does is thus respect for others point of view and its assimilation and acceptance for one’s own enrichment.


The Anthropological Survey of India is a premier research organisation under the Ministry of Culture. It has completed 59 years of its existence and has adhered itself to its commitments to carry out anthropological researches in the area of bio-cultural aspects of Indian population in general and on those who are referred to as the ‘‘Weakest of the Weak’’ in particular. Besides this there are other pertinent activities of the Survey, which include collection, preservation, maintenance; documentation and study of ethnographic materials as well as ancient human skeletal remains. Over the years the Survey generated information from grass-root level through sustained research by its Head Office at Kolkata and also its seven Regional Centres, one Sub-regional Centre, one permanent field station and eight other field stations located in various parts of the country, besides a Camp Office at New Delhi. During the Tenth Plan following National Projects are being studied namely, Cultural Dimension of Tourism in the Biosphere Reserve in addition to the locations of tourists interest.


The National Archives of India (NAI), New Delhi known until Independence as Imperial Record Department was originally established in Kolkata on 11 March 1891. It is the official custodian of all non-current record of permanent value to the Government of India and its predecessor bodies. It has a Regional Office at Bhopal and three Record Centres at Bhubaneswar, Jaipur and Puducherry.

Major activities of the Archives include: (i) making public records accessible to various Government agencies and research scholars; (ii) preparation of reference material; (iii) preservation and maintenance of records and conducting of scientific investigations for the said purpose; (iv) evolving records management programmes; (v) rendering technical assistance to individuals and institutions in the field of conservation of records; (vi) imparting training in the field of archives administration, records management, reprography, repair and conservation of records, books and manuscripts at professional and sub-professional levels; and (vii) creation and promotion of archival consciousness in the country by organising thematic exhibitions.

The National Archives of India provides financial assistance to States/Union Territories, Archives, Voluntary Organisations and other custodial institutions, so that the documentary heritage is preserved and archival science is promoted.



The National Library, Kolkata was established in 1948 with the passing of the imperial Library (Change of Name) Act, 1948.

The basic functions of the Library, which enjoys the status of an institution of national importance, are:(i) Acquisition and conservation of all significant printed material (to the exclusion only of ephemera) as well as of manuscripts of national importance; (ii) Collection of printed material concerning the country, no matter where this is published; (iii) Rendering of bibliographical and documentary services of current and retrospective material, both general and specialised. (This implies the responsibility to produce current national bibliographies and retrospective bibliographies on various aspects of the country); (iv) Acting as referral centre, purveying full and accurate knowledge of all sources of bibliographical information and participation in international bibliographical activities; and (v) Acting as a centre for international book exchange and internal loan.


The Central Secretariat Library (CSL) originally known as Imperial Secretariat Library, Kolkata was established in 1891. Since 1969 the Library has been housed at Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi. It has a collection of over seven lakh documents mainly on Social Sciences and Humanities. It is a depository of Indian Official Documents, Central Government and has a strong collection of State Government documents also.

The collection of Area Studies Division is unique in which books have been arranged according to geographical area. Besides this, its biographical collection is very large and has an extremely rich rare book collection.

The CSL is a microfilm repository under Microfilming of Indian Publication Project (MIPP), having large number of microfilm collection. The CSL is mainly responsible for overall collection and development on all subjects useful in policy decision-making process and is also responsible to build its collection on developmental literature. It provides all possible readers' services to Central Government Officials and other research scholars visiting the Library from all over India. In the recent past CSL has undertaken the development of IT based products by digitizing the Government of India Gazette, Committee and Commission Reports and has also developed the OPAC system for its collection.

The Library has two branches, namely, Hindi and Regional Languages Wing popularly known as Tulsi Sadan Library, Bahawalpur House, New Delhi that houses about 1.9 lakh volumes of Hindi and 13 other constitutionally approved Indian Regional Language books and a Text Book Library located at R.K. Puram, New Delhi which caters to the needs of the wards of Central Government Employees of Under Graduate level.

The CSL recently launched, a portal “India Information Gateway” and its Web Site http: was inaugurated by Secretary, Ministry of Culture on 21 March 2005.

The other important libraries include; Raja Rammohan Roy Library Foundation, Delhi Public Library, Rampur Raza library, Khuda Baksh Oriental Public Library.


The Scholarship and Fellowship Division of the Ministry operates the following schemes to provide monetary assistance to individuals/organisations engaged in promoting cultural activities in the country:-

1. Scheme for Award of Scholarships to Young Artists in Different Cultural Fields.

2. Scheme for Award of Fellowship to Outstanding Persons in the Field of Culture.

3. Scheme of Financial Assistance for Seminars, Festivals and Exhibitions on Cultural Subjects of Not-for-profit organisations (Cultural Functions Grant Scheme).

4. Scheme of Financial Assistance to Cultural organisations with National Presence.

5. Scheme for Visiting Fellows in Art, Culture & Heritage.

A brief description of the various Schemes is given below:-

1. Scheme for Award of Scholarships to Young Artistes in different Cultural Fields : Scholarships are awarded to young artistes of outstanding promise for advanced training in the fields of Indian Classical Dances, Indian Classical Music, Theatre, Visual Arts and Folk, Traditional forms of Arts, etc. Under the Scheme, a total of 400 scholarships are awarded each year for a period of two years. The value of Scholarships is Rs. 5000/- per month. Artistes in the age group of 18-25 years are eligible to apply. The scholarships are awarded for taking advance training, the applicants must have undergone a minimum of five years' training with their Gurus/Institutes.

2. Scheme for Award of Fellowships to Outstanding Persons in the fields of Culture:

Fellowships are awarded to the outstanding artistes in the fields of Literary Arts, Plastic Arts, Performing Arts, Indology, Epigraphy, Sociology of Culture, Cultural Economics, Structural and Engineering Aspects of Monuments, Numismatics, Scientific and Technical Aspects of Conservation, Management aspect of Art and Heritage, and Studies relating to application of Science and Technology in areas related to culture and awarded for a period of two years; out of this 125 are Senior Fellowships having a value of Rs. 15,000/- per month and 125 are Junior Fellowships having a value of Rs. 7500/- per month. Artistes in the age bracket of 40 years and above are eligible to apply for Senior Fellowships and artistes from 25 to 40 years of age can apply for Junior Fellowships.

The Fellowships are awarded for undertaking research oriented projects. While both the academic research and performance related research are encouraged, the applicant is required to provide evidence of his/her capabilities in undertaking the project. The fellowships are not intended for providing training, conducting workshops, seminars or writing autobiographies/ fictions, etc.

3. Scheme of Financial Assistance for Seminars, Festivals and Exhibitions on Cultural Subjects by Not-for Profit Organisations (Cultural Functions Grant Scheme).

The Ministry of Culture has come up with an enlarged and revised version of Seminar Grant Scheme' which is now called the "Cultural Functions Grant Scheme". Formally, however, it goes under the title "Scheme of Financial Assistance for Seminars, Festivals and Exhibitions on Cultural Subjects by Not-for-Profit Organisations". Salient features of the scheme are as under:-

(i) The New "Cultural Functions Grant Scheme", also covers festivals and exhibitions, along with research projects, seminars, conferences. symposia etc.

(ii) The new scheme also increases the upper limit of assistance. Assistance in case of any particular project is restricted to 75 per cent of the total project cost, but the Government's contribution can now go up to Rs. 5 lakhs.

(iii) Another beneficial feature of this new scheme is that henceforth, University Departments and University Centres would also be entitled to apply for assistance, along with NGOs, societies trusts etc.

(iv) Previously the Seminar Grant Scheme was opened for fresh applications only once during each year, whereas the new "Cultural Functions Grant Scheme" would remain open for applications throughout the year.

(v) NGOs/Voluntary Organisations (but not Universities or their Centres) would have to sign up/register with the NGO Partnership National Portal through a simple operation for database purpose.

4. Financial Assistance to Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata (a cultural organisation with national presence)

The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, a branch Centre of the Ramakrishna Mission, is run by a Managing Committee comprising of eminent scholars and distinguished persons from different walks of life. The Governor of West Bengal is the President of its Managing Committee.

Dedicated to promote the ideal of the unity of mankind, the Institute has endeavoured over the years, to make people aware of the richness of the cultures of the world and also the urgent need for inter-cultural appreciation, understanding and acceptance of each other's points of view - an approach which is conducive to international understanding at the global level and national integration at home. The key note of everything the Institute does is thus to respect other point of view and its assimilation and acceptance for ones own enrichment.

To support the activities of the Institute, the Government of India and the Government of West Bengal have been sanctioning grants for the maintenance of the Institute since 1962.

5. Scheme for Visiting Fellows in Art, Culture & Heritage This scheme has recently been introduced to invigorate and revitalise the various institutions under the Ministry of Culture which have vast 'treasures' in the form of manuscripts, documents, artifacts, antiquities and paintings. It is meant to encourage serious researches into our cultural resources so that the nation stands to benefit from the results. Museums, for instance, can hardly display more than a small fraction of their entire holdings and schemes like the one that is being introduced would encourage research, scholarship and analysis of the objects that are not unusually available for public viewing. The scheme at present covers 17 institutions or organisations under the Ministry or supported by it that are listed hereinafter, while more can be covered in subsequent years.

The scheme will be open to both Indian and foreign academics and researchers. Scholars and researchers, who have sound academic or professional credentials, and have made significant contribution to knowledge in their respective field. or are persons with significant creative work in any field of art or culture are eligible.

The Fellowships will normally be awarded for a period of two years. The Fellow selected under the scheme will be expected to attend the institution concerned, as the objective of this scheme is to provide the cultural institutions with academic expertise, to induce academic orientation in their activities and to provide interaction with visiting academics from other institutions. All possible infrastructural support would be provided to the Fellows by the institutions of their affiliation and they will have the benefit of access to national cultural institutions for study and research material.

The scheme offers the best terms, emoluments and facilities in order to draw the best talent available from academic and research institutes, as well as to attract researchers with domain knowledge.

Professors, who came on 2 year's lien, would be fully compensated with pay allowance, HRA etc, and would also be entitled to a sum of upto Rs. 3.5 lakhs each year (for 2 years) by way of project assiGv stance, in addition to all kinds of assistance that the cultural institutions would be extending to them.

Retired academics or researchers, with established credentials, would be entitled to an honorarium of Rs. 80,000 per month, in addition to other financial and logistic supports.

Outstation Fellows would also be entitled to a 'Settling-in-allowance'.

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