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Parliamentary Committee Report to cut short the list of Protected Monuments in India


  • A Parliamentary Committee report tabled during the recent Special Session of Parliament aims to rationalize the centrally protected monuments in India on the basis of their national significance.
  • It will be the first time in the 75-year history of Independent India that monuments will be dropped from the prestigious list.

About the Report:-

Pruning the List:

  • The 359th report on Functioning of Archeological Survey of India was prepared by the department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture.
  • The report highlights the problems with the list of centrally protected monuments and claims that out of 3,691 centrally protected monuments (CPMs), there are a large number of minor monuments with no national significance.
  • Hence, the list should be rationalized and categorized on the basis of structure's significance and architectural/heritage values.
  • For instance, the list includes 75 graves of colonial-era soldiers or officials, which may not hold any significant heritage value in the present time.
  • For example, a small brick wall closure containing graves of two British officials in Karnataka's Kumta is a protected monument, while the structure has no architectural value nor the individuals were of any historical importance.

Bifurcation of Archeological Survey of India (ASI):

  • The report advised bifurcation of ASI on the basis of cerebral and managerial functions.
    • ASI can look after the core mandates as exploration, excavation and conservation aspects;
    • the India Heritage Development Corporation (IHDC) can deal with revenue aspects, such as ticket collecting, issuing license, running cafeterias, etc.

Restrictions on Monuments:

  • There is a provision of a 100-metre prohibited area and 200-metre regulated area around all ASI protected monuments, that leads to public inconvenience.
  • This provision prohibits and regulates all activities like mining and construction in these areas.
  • The report highlighted that in some cases, an entire village is within a radius of 300 metres from a monument, which makes it difficult for residents to repair their houses.
Process to Prune the Lists:

  • The dropping of monuments from the list requires amendment in the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Rules, 1959 (AMASR Act, 1959).
  • The Act provides for de-notification of a monument if it ceases to be of national importance, by redefining the terms 'monument' and 'national importance'.
  • And in this way, ASI can spend its Rs. 1,100 crore annual budget on more important aspects of heritage.
  • There have been many instances when these rules came in the way of infrastructural projects and real-estate development.
  • Hence, the government is working to amend these rules.

Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, 1959 (AMASR Act, 1959):

  • It is an important piece of legislation that aims to preserve and protect the country's rich heritage and culture.
  • The act was passed in 1958 and has since undergone several amendments to keep pace with changing times.
  • It also provides for the regulation of archeological excavations and for protection of sculptures, carvings and other such objects.

  • The Archeological Survey of India functions under the provisions of this act.

  • The monuments are regularly inspected by the ASI officials to assess their present condition and the necessary conservation and preservation works are taken up as per the requirement.
  • The Act was amended in 2010 to strengthen its panel visions, to prevent encroachments and illegal construction close to the monuments, by creating-
    • Prohibited Area- 100 metre around every national monument where no any construction, public or private is permitted.
    • Regulated Area- 200 metres beyond the prohibited area, where any construction requires permission of a newly constituted National Monuments Authority (NMA).
  • The Act also proposed heritage by-laws for each monument to be prepared by an expert body.

Source - Indian Express

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