Make revenue from renting monuments, PAC tells ASI

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on April 06, 2016

agha-khan-palace   -  THE HINDU

Call to spend more on explorations and excavations

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament found “procedural and institutional lacunae” in the Culture Ministry’s efforts to preserve and conserve historical monuments and antiquities in the country.

In a recent report, titled Preservation and Conservation of Monuments and Antiquities, the panel noted that the amount of public money spent over the years has been huge by any standard. It, however, appreciated the Archaeological Survey of India and the Culture Ministry for finalising a national policy for conservation of the ancient monuments, archaeological sites and remains and urged the Centre to notify the policy soon.

Manpower shortage

It urged the Culture Ministry to take up the issue of shortage of manpower in the ASI with the Finance Ministry and fill up the posts immediately.

The panel was surprised that the ASI is spending less than one per cent of its total expenditure on explorations and excavations and asked ASI to ensure adequate allocation for these activities. The panel felt the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972 should be amended and steps should be taken to recover or procure antiquities which have been sold to buyers abroad.

The panel has recommended that the ASI should constitute a coordination mechanism with representatives of State governments in each circle to curb encroachments. The PAC also felt that there is a need for a comprehensive security policy for all monuments and museums.

Revenue generation

The panel was “dismayed” to note that there is no structured system for deciding whether the entry to a monument should be ticketed or not. The panel noted that the rate for allowing shooting in the monuments was not revised since 1991.

“The committee also recommend that rates for film and documentary shoots in premises of monuments must also be suitably revised upwards and promotional short films can be produced by ASI separately in coordination with the Tourism Ministry,” the report said and asked the Ministry to explore premium renting of well-known sites for social and family events with proper guidelines.

The committee said the ASI did not have a reliable database on the exact number of protected monuments. Expressing concern at the rising number of “missing monuments,” the panel asked the ASI to verify the physical condition of notified protected monuments within six months.

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Published on April 06, 2016
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