MONUMENTS OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE (Syllabus GS Paper 1 – Art and Culture)

News-CRUX-10     27th March 2024        

Context: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to delist 18 “centrally protected monuments” because it has assessed that they do not have national importance.

Monument of National Importance

  • About: A "Monument of National Importance" is designated by the Archaeological Survey of India and includes the following

oThe remains of an ancient monument

oThe site of an ancient monument

oThe land on which there are fences or protective covering structures for preserving the monument.

oLand by means of which people can freely access the monument

Preserving the Monuments

  • Mandate of ASI: Under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, the ASI is mandated to preserve monuments that have cultural and historical significance.
  • Ban on Construction Activities: Construction activities are banned within 100 meters around the sites where the monuments are located.
  • Regulation of Repairs and Modifications: Prior permission is required for any repairs or modifications within 200 meters of the monuments.
  • Power to Delist Monuments: The ASI has the power to delist monuments deemed to "have ceased to be of national importance" under Section 35 of the Act.
  • End of ASI Responsibility upon Delisting: Once a monument is delisted, the ASI is no longer responsible for protecting it.
  • Monument Tracing by ASI: The ASI considers a monument "untraceable" when its location cannot be determined or it has been lost.
  • Earlier recommendations: Economic Advisory Council's Recommendation (EAC-PM) proposed updating the list of national monuments in January 2023, suggesting the delisting of "missing" and minor monuments.

oComptroller and Auditor General's Findings: The CAG identified 92 monuments as "missing" in a performance audit conducted around 2013.

oArchaeological Survey of India's Identification: The ASI located 42 of the "missing" monuments and advised categorizing them based on their national significance and architectural value.

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