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India’s Ministry of Culture is eyeing a significant leg-up for desi tourism with a five-year plan worth Rs 27,000 crore. Expected to kick off in 2020, the ambitious sum is aimed at conserving India’s historical sites, popularising tangible heritage, as well as boosting experiential travel for domestic and international travellers.
As reported by the Economic Times, these are the plan’s highlights:
The ministry wants to set up 100 experiential museums similar to the Acropolis Museum in Greece. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is a key body in the process, and one of these museums is meant to be a ‘national experiential archaeological museum’ at an ASI excavation site in Vadnagar, Gujarat. Kolkata’s Indian Museum (the oldest in the subcontinent) and Pune’s Gandhi Museum at the Aga Khan Palace have also been marked for an expansion and upgrade, respectively.
Eleven historic sites have been selected for an ‘authentic reconstruction’ venture. This includes Hampi in Karnataka, and the Indus Valley sites of Rakhigarhi and Dholavira, which require immense conservation measures against vandalism and elements of the weather. The ministry is ‘exploring technological aids’ for the reconstruction, and has identified experts and technical support.
To promote cultural education, a national centre for performing arts has also been proposed, as well as an Indian Institute of Culture (IIC). The IIC would provide training in archaeology, museology, conservation and related fields.
According to ET, wait times when visiting Indian monuments “will be reduced to five minutes from 45 for visitors to 42 monuments.World-class amenities will be provided at 600 sites, 50 interpretation centres will be established and 50 monuments will be illuminated.”
The vision statement also mentions the establishment of a national-level ‘Jashn-e-Kashmir’ festival to celebrate the folk art of Jammu & Kashmir. A programme to popularise Raksha Bandhan, Karwa Chauth, Teej and Bhaiya Dooj is also in the works.
A quarter of the total budget is set aside for the ASI, which marks a seven-fold increase in the agency’s funding.
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