Amid CAA Protests and Economic Crisis: Modi Government Plans to Save “India’s Cultural Vision”

Conservation of Indus Valley Civilization sites, construction of an institute to promote “unique Indian traditions”and a museum on Indian Prime Ministers are part of the Modi government’s vision plan for 2024.

In order to promote “unique Indian traditions” such as Karwa Chauth and Bhaiya Dooj, the Union Ministry of Culture has come up with an interesting plan. The ministry has compiled a ‘National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.’ The ministry has made a five year plan to rescue and revive what it calls the “unique Indian tradition.” According to the ministry there are innumerable elements of ICH in India which deserve recognition. The ministry also aims to create an Indian Institute of Culture(IIC) that has been envisioned as a national premier institution for the training and skilling of manpower in the fields of archeology, conservation, museology and other associated fields. The proposal is presently being reviewed by the Prime Minister’s Office. The proposal states that the IIC would be set up by an Act of the Parliament as an institute of National Importance as far the culture sector is concerned.

The existing educational and training institutes under the ministry like the Institute of Archeology, National Museum Institute, National Research Laboratory for conservation of Cultural Property and School of Archival Studies will be merged under the IIC. The new cultural institute that the proposal speaks of is going to be housed in a 25-acre campus of the Institute of Archeology located in Greater Noida, and it will offer graduate, post graduate and research degrees along with a one year diploma course apart from shorter courses and modules in the field. The proposal underlines that this would help supply skilled manpower in all the domains of the cultural economy and help India strengthen the cultural sector manifold. The culture ministry also has plans for developing a platform for consumers and service providers, so that customers can make an informed choice about whose work they want to purchase. The work for the platform has already started. There has also been an assertion of the need to hike the budget of the Archeological Survey of India and spend more intensely on the conservation and authentic reconstruction of 11 historical sites that fall within the ASI’s ambit. The sites that will receive the maximum attention will be those like the Dholavira and Rakhigiri regions that are related to the Indus Valley Civilization. The culture ministry will carry out the reconstruction of such sites and make sure that such sites also attract a large number of tourists through digital modules, documentary film screenings and virtual tours among a plethora of other attractions. The ASI has already identified 19 Indus Valley Civilisation experts to spearhead the project. The project will be financed under the National Virtual Library of India with IIT Bombay being the nodal agency. For meeting these targets, the ASI’s budget has received a seven fold increase over the next five years.

The ministry is also looking forward to finish work on the Museum on Indian Prime Ministers by March 2020. The proposal also insists on increasing the area of the National Museum in Delhi and the Indian Museum in Kolkata.

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