House panel expresses concern over slow documentation of antiquities

A Parliamentary Standing Committee has expressed dismay at the slow pace of documentation of antiquities noting that this was critical in proving ownership and reclaiming stolen heritage items. The government has been intent on securing the repatriation of stolen Indian artefacts from abroad.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture noted in its report submitted in the Rajya Sabha on Monday that the National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA), which is mandated with documenting the country’s monuments and antiquities, has only been able to document 16.8 lakh antiquities out of a total of 58 lakh which is just about 30%. It says that the Committee was informed by Director General of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) that the figure of 58 lakh antiquities is only an estimate and there may well be many more.

The National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA)

It is an Indian government agency responsible for maintaining a cultural heritage database under the Ministry of Culture. It was launched in 2007 aimed at studying, researching and preserving the cultural heritage of India. The main goal of the agency is to make information available online to the general public, explicitly for scholars and students interested or associated with the subject.

The NMMA has a number of objectives, including:

  • To create a comprehensive database of India’s built heritage and antiquities.
  • To promote awareness and sensitivity about the importance of preserving cultural heritage.
  • To provide training and capacity building to stakeholders in the cultural heritage sector.
  • To undertake research and development in the field of cultural heritage.

The NMMA has made significant progress in achieving its objectives. It has created a database of over 3.15 lakhs of built heritage and sites, and over 1.4 million antiquities. It has also promoted awareness and sensitivity about the importance of preserving cultural heritage through a number of initiatives, such as the National Heritage Awareness Programme. The NMMA has also provided training and capacity building to stakeholders in the cultural heritage sector, and has undertaken research and development in the field of cultural heritage.

The NMMA is a valuable resource for anyone interested in India’s cultural heritage. Its database is a comprehensive resource for information on built heritage and antiquities, and its initiatives are helping to promote awareness and sensitivity about the importance of preserving cultural heritage.

Here are some of the key activities of the NMMA:

Documentation of built heritage and antiquities: The NMMA is documenting built heritage and antiquities from all over India. This documentation includes information on the history, architecture, and significance of the heritage sites.

Research and development: The NMMA is conducting research and development in the field of cultural heritage. This research is focused on finding new ways to preserve and protect cultural heritage.

Capacity building: The NMMA is providing training and capacity building to stakeholders in the cultural heritage sector. This training is focused on helping people to understand the importance of preserving cultural heritage and to develop skills in preservation and conservation.

Awareness and sensitization: The NMMA is promoting awareness and sensitization about the importance of preserving cultural heritage. This is being done through a variety of initiatives, such as the National Heritage Awareness Programme.

The NMMA is a valuable resource for anyone interested in India’s cultural heritage. Its database is a comprehensive resource for information on built heritage and antiquities, and its initiatives are helping to promote awareness and sensitivity about the importance of preserving cultural heritage.

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