'Heritage conservation plan less practicable'
New Delhi: Government's proposals on heritage conservation outlined in the 12th Five Year Plan are "high on ideals" but "less practicable" and obfuscate the real issues faced by the Culture Ministry, a Parliamentary panel has said.
In its 192nd report on demand for grants, the Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, headed by CPI(M) MP Sitaram Yechury, also observed that the strategies reflect a "paradigm shift" in the heritage conservation activities, which are "vague and high sounding ideals only, which do not inspire the required confidence".
"The Committee has strong reservations about government's commitment to privatising heritage conservation activities... the Committee feels that these could be high on ideals but low on implementation on ground and therefore less practicable.
"It turns out to be an attempt to obfuscate the real issues and practical problems faced by the Ministry and different stakeholders," the report said.
Terming the 12th Plan allocation of Rs 7,275 crore for the Culture Ministry against Rs 18,668 crore projected by it as "inadequate", the panel pitched for increasing allocations saying "these allocations were highly inadequate in comparison to the ambitious task the Ministry has to undertake such as modernisation of museums, archives and libraries.
The parliamentary panel had found "critical disconnect" in the Ministry's approach towards heritage conservation vis-a-vis the people and the community.
The committee, comprising of parliamentarians from CPI(M), Trinamool Congress and BJP, observed that the linkages between culture and economic growth have not been properly reflected in the strategy outlined by the Planning Commission.
It said due to this, the Ministry may not be able to harness cultural resources for economic development of the country.
"The committee understands that excavations, recording of excavation findings, chemical findings and physical conservation of our monuments require a certain level of deft handling and agrees to the need to involve the community...But it appears to be better said than done," the report said.
The panel also noted that the National Culture Fund set up to preserve culture and heritage had not received the required response from the corporate sector.
It said this could be made attractive for corporates or public sector units by inclusion in the list of CSR activities and also by putting up plaques on monuments that could help in image building.