Centre moots archaeology schemes for states

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said a centrally-sponsored scheme is in the offing to provide for professional and financial support to state archaeology departments involved in conservation of historical monuments. Speaking at the 150th anniversary celebrations of Archaeological Survey of India here, Singh noted that a significant part of heritage conservation is outside the purview of this body and entrusted to the state archaeology departments.

"The state archaeology departments which are responsible for such monuments and sites need both professional and financial support. The Planning Commission has suggested a centrally sponsored scheme for this purpose," Singh said. He asked the Ministry of Culture and ASI to finalise a scheme which entrusts greater responsibility to state archaeology departments, universities and research institutes in restoration and conservation of India`s heritage.

The Prime Minister also urged the ministry and ASI to seek greater integration of preservation and conservation efforts in cities with public policies and schemes for urban renewal. He called for a more holistic understanding of conservation issues that combines preservation efforts with social and economic needs of the community.

"Successful conservation efforts in the past have incorporated local area development through employment generation, boosting local crafts and arts, building of infrastructure, environmental conservation and landscaping," Singh said.