Ministry-wise Initiatives 2019: Ministry of Culture

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Prelims: Current events of national and international importance.
Mains: GS I –

  • Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature, and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Ministry of Culture:

  • The mandate of the Ministry of Culture revolves around the functions like preservation and conservation of ancient cultural heritage and promotion of art and culture both tangible and intangible in the country.
  • It has organized four missions namely :
    • National Mission for Manuscripts,
    • National Mission for Monument and Antiquities,
    • National Mission on Libraries, and
    • Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission.
  • It also nurtures Gandhian Heritage and is responsible for commemoration of important historical events and centenaries of great personalities.
  • Intangible heritage, the Ministry takes care of all the centrally protected monuments of national
  • importance, which is achieved through the Archaeological Survey of India.
  • Similarly, the Ministry is also promoting a museum movement in the country and the majority of the museums are under its administrative control.
  • The Ministry also promotes regional museums through grants-in-aid.
  • In the field of intangible heritage, the Ministry extends financial support to individuals, group of individuals and cultural organizations engaged in performing visual and literary arts.
  • In knowledge heritage, the Ministry is the custodian of all the major libraries in the country.
  • It also extends grant-in-aid for library development and is also responsible for all policy matters regarding library development.
  • Through the National Archives of India, Ministry is responsible for the maintenance of all archival records of the country.
  • The Ministry is also involved in the protection and promotion of Buddhist and Tibetian Culture and is doing this through various institutions located at Sarnath, Varanasi, and Leh.
  • The Ministry is also responsible for the implementation of various UNESCO conventions in the field of agriculture and for entering cultural agreements with partner countries. 
Various Initiatives, Work and scheme of Ministry of Culture:


  • Lalit Kala Akademi
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi
  • Sahitya Akademi
  • National School of Drama
  • Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts
  • Centre for Cultural Resources and Training
  • Archaeological Survey of India
  • National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities
  • National Mission for Manuscripts
  • Anthropological Survey of India (An.S.I)
  • National Archives of India


  • National Mission on Cultural Mapping and Roadmap
  • Guru Shishya Parampara Scheme
  • National Mission on Manuscripts

Works And Activities:

  • Sanskriti Kumbh
    • UNESCO World Heritage site
    • UNESCO creative cities network (UCCN)
  • Restoration work And Excavation Sites
    • Khajuraho of Vidarbha
    • Safdarjung Tomb
    • Qutb Minar
    • Excavations at Gottiprolu  Excavation
    • Excavations at Maharashtra’s Phupgaon
    • Excavations at the Sadiqpur Sanauli village of Bhagpat, Uttar Pradesh



Lalit Kala Akademi:
  • It is the national academy of Arts and government’s apex cultural body in the field of visual arts in India.
  • It has been established to promote and propagate understanding of Indian art, both within and outside the country.
  • It was established on August 5, 1954 at New Delhi. 
Sangeet Natak Akademi:
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, is a pioneer in the creation of modern India.
  • In 1961, the Sangeet Natak Akademi was reconstituted by the Government as a society and registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
Sahitya Akademi:
  • Sahitya Akademi is the Indian National Academy of Letters, to promote Indian literature through publications, translations, seminars, workshops, cultural exchange programmes and literary meets organized all over the country.
  • The Akademi was founded in March 1954 as an autonomous body fully funded by the Department of Culture.
  • It was registered as a Society in 1956 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860. The Akademi has recognized 24 languages.
  • It has an office at Shillong for promotion of oral and tribal literature and an Archive of Indian literature in Delhi.
  • The three fellowships by Sahitya Akademi are:
    • Sahitya Akademi Honorary Fellowship
    • Ananda Coomaraswamy
    • Premachand Fellowship
  • Recently, Sahitya Akademi has launched a Village Outreach programme, Gramalok, to promote literature in rural spaces.
National School of Drama:
  • The National School of Drama (NSD) – one of the foremost theatre institutions in the world and the only one of its kind in India was set up by Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1959.
  • Later in 1975, it became an autonomous organization.
Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts:
  • The Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) is an autonomous trust under the Ministry of Culture.
  • It is a national level academic research centre, encompassing the study and experience of all arts, classical and folk, written and oral, ancient and modern.
  • The IGNCA’s view of the arts encompasses wide areas such as creative and critical literature, written and oral; the visual arts, architecture, sculpture, painting, graphics, photography and film.
  • IGNCA also manages National Mission for Manuscripts which has conserved and digitised precious heritage through resource and conservation centres across India.
Centre for Cultural Resources and Training:
  • The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training (CCRT) is one of the premier institutions working in the field of linking education with culture.
  • The centre was set up in May 1979 as an autonomous organization by the Government of India. With headquarters in New Delhi, it has three regional centres at Udaipur, Hyderabad and Guwahati.
  • The broad objectives of CCRT have been to revitalize the education system by creating an understanding and awareness among students about the plurality of the regional cultures of India and integrating this knowledge with education. 
Archaeological Survey of India:
  • It was established in 1861. It functions as an attached office of the Ministry of Culture.
  • Its major activities are :
    • Survey of archaeological remains and excavations; maintenance and conservation of centrally protected monuments, sites and remains; chemical preservation of monuments and antiquarian remains; architectural survey of monuments; development of epigraphical research and numismatic studies; setting up and re-organization of site museums; expeditions abroad; training in archaeology; publication of technical reports and research works.
  • Under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958, ASI has declared 3,686 sites of National importance.
  • Out of this 21 are inscribed on the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
    • 3 sites namely, Champaner- Pavagarh Archaeological park in Gujarat, Chtarpati Shivaji Terminus Station in Mumbai and the Brihadeshawara temple complex, Gangaikondacholapuram and Airavatesvara temple complex, Darasuram as an extension of Brihadeswara temple complex, Thanjavur have been inscribed on World Heritage list of UNESCO in 2004.
National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities:
  • It prepares a National Register for Built Heritage, Sites and Antiques and setting up of a state-level database on Built Heritage.
  • As per the recommendations of National Productivity Council in its 3rd Party evaluation report, NMMA has been made a division of Archaeological Survey of India.
  • As part of the mandate, NMMA has to prepare two national registers, viz., (i) National Register on Built Heritage and Sites and (ii) National Register on Antiquities.
National Mission for Manuscripts:
  • It was launched in 2003 with the Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts (IGNCA) as the nodal agency to reclaim India’s inheritance of knowledge contained in the vast treasure of manuscripts.
  • Major activities: Documentation of manuscripts through survey, preventive and curative conservation, conducting training courses and workshops on conservation, documentation through digitization, research and publication and public outreach programmes.
Anthropological Survey of India (An.S.I):
  • An.S.I. is an institution of its unique kind anywhere the world.
  • It has been mandated to study the biocultural attributes of the Indian populations since its establishment, about 65 years before.
  • The activities include collection, preservation, maintenance, documentation and study of ethnographic materials as well as ancient human skeletal remains.
National Archives of India:
  • NAI is the custodian of non- current records of the Government of India and is holding them in trust for the use of the records creators and users at large.
  • It functions as an attached office to Ministry of Culture.
  • It is the nodal agency for the implementation of the Public Records Act, 1993
  • Making public records accessible to various Government agencies and research scholars.
  • Its major activity includes making public records accessible to various government agencies and research scholars.
  • It also renders technical assistance to individuals and institutions in the field of conservation of records.


Project Mausam:
  • Objective:
    • To explore the multifaceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ – collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean.
  • Salient features:
    • It is to be implemented by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as the nodal agency with research support of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and National Museum as associate bodies.
    • At the macro level, the focus of the project is to re-establish and re-connect communications between 39 countries of the Indian Ocean world, which would lead to an enhanced understanding of cultural values and economic ties.

  • Objective:
    • To reduce the financial burden of Charitable Religious Institutions
    • It envisages reimbursing Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) and Central Government’s share of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) paid on purchase of specific raw food items by Charitable/Religious Institutions for distributing free food to public.
  • Features:
    • It is applicable to all Charitable Religious Institutions such as Temples, Gurudwara, Mosque, Church, Dharmik Ashram, Dargah, Matth, Monasteries etc. which follows the following norms:
    • which have been in existence for the preceding five years before applying for financial assistance/grant.
    • which have been distributing free food to the public for at least past three years on the day of application.
    • Which serve free food to at least 5000 people in a month.
    • which should not be blacklisted under provisions of FCRA or any other Act/Rules of the Central/State Government.
National Mission on Cultural Mapping and Roadmap:
  • The Scheme falls under Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat.
  • It establishes the cultural mapping (i.e. database of cultural assets and resources) via running nationwide cultural awareness programme called Hamari Sanskriti Hamari Pahchan Abhiyan for the development of all art forms and artists.
  • It also seeks to establish a National Cultural Working Place (NCWP) portal for obtaining information, knowledge sharing etc. in the field of all art forms.
Guru Shishya Parampara Scheme:
  • It was launched through Zonal Cultural Centre to preserve and promote rare and vanishing artforms whether classical or folk/tribal so that the young talents be nurtured to acquire skills in their chosen field of art through some financial assistance by the ZCCs in the form of scholarship under the guidance of Experts and Masters in these fields.
National Mission on Manuscripts:
  • Objective:
    • It was established in 2003 as a unique project for identifying documenting, conserving and making accessible the manuscript heritage of India.
  • Features:
    • It aims to establish a digital National Manuscripts Library at Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA).
    • It promotes ready access to these manuscripts through publication, both in book form as well as electronic form.



Sanskriti Kumbh:
  • A 29 days cultural extravaganza was organised at Kumbh Mela Area, Prayagraj from 10th January, 2019. The Ministry of Culture, Government of India organized Sanskriti Kumbh with intent to showcase the rich Cultural Heritage of India in all its rich and varied dimensions viz. Performing Arts- Folk, Tribal and Classical art forms, Handicrafts, Cuisines, Exhibitions etc. all in one place.
About Kumbh Mela:
  • The Kumbh Mela (the festival of the sacred pitcher) is anchored in Hindu mythology.
  • It is the largest public gathering and collective act of faith, anywhere in the world.
  • Crowds gather at the sacred confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mystical Sarasvati. Primarily, this congregation includes Ascetics, Saints, Sadhus, Sadhvis, Kalpvasis, and Pilgrims from all walks of life.
  • The Mela was included in the list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2017


  • UNESCO World Heritage site
    • Mumbai's Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Building declared as World Heritage by UNESCO
    • In yet another landmark achievement this year, India’s nomination of the “Victorian and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai ” has been inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage list.
    • This makes Mumbai city the second city in India after Ahmedabad to be inscribed on the World Heritage List. In the past 5 years alone, India has managed to get inscribed seven of its properties/sites on the World Heritage List of UNESCO.
    • While India stands second largest in number after China in terms of number of World Heritage properties in ASPAC (Asia and Pacific) region, it is overall sixth in the world.
    • India gets its 38th world UNESCO World heritage site As Pink City Jaipur
    • India’s nomination of the Jaipur City, Rajasthan got inscribed on 6th July, 2019 on the World Heritage List of UNESCO during the 43rd Session of the World Heritage Committee held at Baku, Azerbaijan. 
    • The nomination of Jaipur City has successfully been done by complying with the various UNESCO guidelines of 2017.
    • With Successful inscription of Jaipur City, India has 38 world heritage sites that include 30 Cultural properties, 7 Natural properties and 1 mixed site.
  • UNESCO creative cities network (UCCN):
    • UNESCO designated Mumbai as a member of UNESCO creative cities network (UCCN) in the field of film and Hyderabad in the field of gastronomy
    • UNESCO has designated Mumbai as a member of UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the field of FILM and Hyderabad in the field of GASTRONOMY.


United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO):

  • UNESCO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) based in Paris.
  • Its declared purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through educational, scientific, and cultural reforms in order to increase universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the United Nations Charter.
  • It is the successor of the League of Nations’ International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation.
  • UNESCO has 195 member states and ten associate members.

World Heritage List:

  • The sites are designated as having “outstanding universal value” under the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage 1972.
  • It provides a framework for international cooperation in preserving and protecting cultural treasures and natural areas throughout the world.
  • There are three types of sites:
    • Cultural, Natural, and Mixed.
      • Cultural heritage sites include hundreds of historic buildings and town sites, important archaeological sites, and works of monumental sculpture or painting.
      • Natural heritage sites are restricted to those natural areas that:
        • Furnish outstanding examples of Earth’s record of life or its geologic processes
        • Provide excellent examples of ongoing ecological and biological evolutionary processes.
        • Contain natural phenomena that are rare, unique, superlative, or of outstanding beauty,
        • Furnish habitats for rare or endangered animals or plants or are sites of exceptional biodiversity.
  • Mixed heritage sites contain elements of both natural and cultural significance.

 UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC):

  • The World Heritage Committee is composed of representatives of 21 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention who meet annually.
  • The Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is an international agreement that was adopted by the General Conference of UNESCO in 1972.
  • It is based on the premise that certain places on Earth are of outstanding universal value and should, therefore, form part of the common heritage of humankind.
  • It basically defines the kind of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List.
  • The Committee is in charge of implementing the Convention.
  • To date, 1,092 sites in 167 countries have been inscribed on the World Heritage List.

UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN):

  • It was created in 2004.
  • Currently (2019), 246 cities make up this network which aims towards a common objective of placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.
  • The UNESCO Creative Cities aims to achieve Sustainable Development Goals through innovative thinking and action.
  • Also, cities are championing sustainable development actions that directly benefit communities at the urban level.
  • Sustainable Development Goal 11 aims for Sustainable Cities and Communities.
  • The network covers seven creative fields: crafts and folk arts, media arts, film, design, gastronomy, literature and music.
  • As of November, 2019, there are five Indian cities in UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) as follows:
    • Jaipur-Crafts and Folk Arts(2015).
    • Varanasi-Creative city of Music (2015).
    • Chennai-Creative city of Music(2017).
    • Mumbai – Film (2019).
    • Hyderabad – Gastronomy (2019).


Restoration work And Excavation Sites:
  • “Khajuraho of Vidarbha”:
    • Restoration work of Markandeshwar temple in Maharashtra by the Archaeological Survey of India has been initiated in the month of July, 2019.
    • Known as the “Khajuraho of Vidarbha”, the temple of Markandadeo is situated on the bank of River Wainganga in district Gadchiroli of Maharashtra.
    • A detailed documentation process was initiated to carry out the condition mapping of the temple in order to carry out the conservation process.

  • Safdarjung Tomb:
    • Safdarjung Tomb is one of those historical monuments which attracts thousands of tourists every year and is the pride jewel in Delhi’s history. With the illumination the architectural beauty of the 17th-century Mughal era monument displayed its historic reflection on Delhi after sunset.
  • Qutb Minar:
    • The historic Qutb Minar came alive as it saw the first-ever architectural LED illumination inaugurated by Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (I/C) Shri Prahalad Singh Patel in New Delhi on 31st August, 2019.

Markandeshwar temple:

  • Markandeshwar Temple is situated on the bank of River Wainganga in district Gadchiroli of Maharashtra.
  • It is also known as the “Khajuraho of Vidarbha”.
  • Markandeshwar temple belongs to the Nagara group of temples of North India.
  • The Nagara temples belong to Saiva, Vaishnava and Sakta faith.
  • Most of the temples have a simple plan, with ardhamandapa, mandapa, antarala and garbhagriha forming the component of the entire set up.

Qutb Minar:

  • Qutb Minar was built in the early 13th century a few kilometres south of Delhi.
  • The red sandstone tower of Qutb Minar is 72.5 m high, tapering from 2.75 m in diameter at its peak to 14.32 m at its base to give calls for prayer.
  • Its surrounding contains Alai-Darwaza Gate, the masterpiece of Indo-Muslim art (built-in 1311). The building process of Qutub Minar took a long time (about 75 years).
  • Its construction was started by Qutub-ud-din Aibak in 1193 and finished by Iltutmish.


Gottiprolu, Andhra Pradesh indicate it as a Trade Centre of Early Historic Period:
  • The 1st phase of excavation by a team of Archaeological Survey of India’s Excavation Branch – VI, Bangalore at Gottiprolu near Naidupeta in Nellore (now renamed as Sri Potti Sri Ramulu) district, Andhra Pradesh has discovered the remains of a huge settlement surrounded by a massive brick enclosure.
  • Among many other antiquities unearthed are one life-size Vishnu sculpture and a wide variety of pottery of the early centuries of the current era.
  • Detailed topographical study and drone images have helped in identifying an early historic settlement surrounded by a fortification and the possibility of a moat encircling it.
  • The fortification is very much clear on the eastern and southern sides of the mound while its other arm seems to have been levelled as a result of modern settlements.
  • Detailed topographical study and drone images have helped in identifying an early historic settlement surrounded by a fortification and the possibility of a moat encircling it.
  • The fortification is very much clear on the eastern and southern sides of the mound while its other arm seems to have been levelled as a result of modern settlements.

Maharashtra’s Phupgaon:
  • The recent excavation carried out by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at Maharashtra’s Phupgaon has revealed evidence of an Iron Age settlement in the Vidarbha region.
  • The site is situated in the vast meander of the river Purna, a major tributary of Tapi, which used to be a perennial river, but at present is completely dried-up due to the dam construction in the upper stream.
  • The site is situated about 20 m away from the river bed and its one-third portion has been subjected to frequent erosion during the heavy water current in the earlier times.
  • ASI is of the view that the excavation at Phupgaon has provided important insights into Iron Age people of Purna river basin.
  • Chronologically, the site could be placed between 7th C BCE and 4th C BCE.
  • However, further detailed study of the site with chronometric dating is being taken up to reveal further aspects of Iron Age of Vidarbha.

Archaeological Survey of India’s  excavations at the Sadiqpur Sanauli village of Bhagpat, Uttar Pradesh:
  • The Archaeological Survey of India under the Excavation Branch-II undertook excavations at the Sadiqpur Sanauli village of Bhagpat, Uttar Pradesh, from the month of March 2018 onwards. 
  • All burials are unique having individual characteristics with some common features. Burial No.1, 3 and 6 are wooden coffin burials in which No.3 and 6  having copper plating and decorations.
  • All burials have pottery, placed all around the skeleton generally big pots kept near the legs and bowls and flasks are arranged near the head indicating North West direction.
  • These hint that the Burials belong to Warrior Class habitats and that they drove a Chariot powered by an animal.
  • This discovery puts Indian Civilization on par with other ancient civilizations like Mesopotamia and Greece, where Chariots were extensively used. It is for the first time that Swords dating to this era has been found in a Burial Pit in India.
  • These Preliminary findings reveal that based on the archaeological evidence, Sanauli Grave Culture goes back to around 2000 BCE to 1800 BCE (Copper Bronze age).

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