Indian Culture: Latest Initiatives by Government

IAS Prelims 2023

Ministry of Culture’s mandate 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.

Ministry is working on the protection, development and promotion of all types of heritage of culture namely, tangible heritage, intangible heritage and knowledge heritage.

The Ministry through its organizations is engaged in recognizing excellence in the field of art and culture by way of awards given by institutions like Sahitya Akademi and Sangeet Natak Akademi.

E-ticketing- A cashless tool for tourists at all ticketed monuments

There are 116 ticketed monuments and 32 museums under the protection of ASI(Archaeological Survey of India). E-ticketing facility has been launched in coordination with Canara Bank with the aim of providing online booking facility for visitors. Moreover, the facility is proving to be less expensive when compared to manual ticketing system which was prevalent earlier. E-ticketing facility has been playing a significant role in facilitating the cashless transactions to the Indian and foreign tourists. The e- Ticket sales has been increased by 10 times and the revenue increased by 60 times from 9th October, 2016 to 8th November, 2016.

Process is underway to procure hardware to have computerized facility for the sale of e-tickets at the Point of Sale. Also process has been initiated to set up card swipe/PoS machines at the ticketed monument sites.

Nearly 100 Monuments Identified for Portal on “Must-See Monuments and Archaeological Sites of India”

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has created a Portal for the “Must-See Monuments and Archaeological Sites of India”, under its protection. The purpose of the portal is to highlight outstanding monuments and sites in India, comprising world heritage properties, sites under UNESCO’s Tentative List, ASI’s ticketed and other non-ticketed prominent monuments. Nearly a hundred monuments have been identified for this purpose. Sites have been selected on the basis of their exceptional art and architecture, planning and design, displaying exemplary engineering skills and being a unique testimony to the civilization in the past.

National Virtual Library of India

Under the aegis of the National Mission on Libraries, the National Virtual Library of India (NVLI) has been envisaged as the platform which would bring together all information generated in India and about India and make such information accessible to the citizens through user friendly search interfaces.

Excavation at the site near Saser La Pass in Ladakh at an altitude of about 13500-14000 feet

An ancient camping site dating 9245 BC (11195 BP) has been discovered by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), on the way to Saser La which leads to the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh. Proper archaeological excavation is in progress which has so far revealed microlithic and bone artefacts. The discovery is the earliest known evidence of highest known camping site in India, at about 13500 -14000 feet above mean sea level.

Conservation portal for ASI works

Portal for Conservation works has been launched by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which aims to capture details of all conservation and development works being undertaken by its various circles. The portal has been developed to increase transparency and now it is accessible to public as a part of e-governance initiative. The portal has details of all works being undertaken by ASI through its various circles, viz., conservation programme, progress of work, attendance of workers, etc., including time line, which can be monitored at different levels.

Ease of doing business –Website & Smart Smarac Mobile App for NMA permissions

National Monuments Authority (NMA)’s Web Portal called “NOC Online Application and Processing System (NOAPS)”was launched on 26th April 2016. Keeping in view the directive of Prime Minister of India regarding “e-Governance” and “Ease of Doing Business”, the National Monuments Authority has developed this online Web Portal. The Portal has used the technology and expertise of Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO), who are in the process of mapping of 3686 ASI protected monuments and sites. They have developed a user friendly Mobile App, which can be downloaded free of cost by an applicant and can be used to upload the geo coordinates of his plot which falls within the prohibited/regulated area of the monument.

Satellite Mapping of ASI Monuments

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Remote Sensing Centre, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) for preparation of satellite based maps indicating prohibited and regulated areas clearly for the information of public and also to facilitate procedure for grant of permissions for construction related activity within prohibited and regulated areas of all 3686 centrally protected monuments.

Retrieval of stolen antiquities from abroad

Prime Minister’s visit to USA in June, 2016 facilitated return of 17 antiquities smuggled out of India to USA. Out of these, 8 antiquities have already been returned to India and the remaining 9 are in process of return. One Bronze object of Natraja and one Stone object of Ardhanarishwara from Australia have already been retrieved, while three objects i.e. seated images of Buddha, Pratayangira and Buddha panel are in process of return. One stone object of Parrot Lady from Canada and one stone object of Durga from Germany have already been retrieved.

Project Mausam

Project ‘Mausam’ is an initiative of the Ministry of Culture 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. This project aims to explore the multi-faceted Indian Ocean ‘world’ – collating archaeological and historical research in order to document the diversity of cultural, commercial and religious interactions in the Indian Ocean – extending from East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, the Indian Subcontinent and Sri Lanka to the Southeast Asian archipelago. It also aims to promote research on themes related to the study of Maritime Routes through international scientific seminars and meetings and by adopting a multidisciplinary approach.

Swachh Bharat – Swachh Smarak

All ASI Protected Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites Declared Polythene Free Zones

75 More Adarsh Monuments Protected by ASI to be Included in ‘Swachh Paryatan Mobile App’ taking it to 100. 25 ASI sites were launched as “Adarsh Smarak” on 26th December, 2014.

All ASI Protected Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites have been declared ‘Polythene Free Zones’. Advisory was issued to all State Governments/UTs to support ASI in keeping Monuments Polythene Free up to 300 meters from the protected boundaries of the Monuments. The Ministry has sanctioned Rs.350 crores to provide facilities like Protected Boundaries, Toilets and Disabled Friendly Access in all ASI Protected Monuments. Work has been allocated to PSUs like WAPCOS and TCIL. They have been directed to complete the work in the current financial year 2016-17.

The ASI has ranked top 25 Adarsh Monuments on the basis of Cleanliness parameters such as amenities like toilets, green lawns, Polythene Free Zone, signage for awareness, disabilities access, drinking water and provision for garbage bins etc. “Rani ki Vav (Gujarat)” a World Heritage Site has been declared as the cleanest iconic place in the country.

Apart from this 75 more Adarsh Monuments protected by ASI have been identified to be included in the ‘Swachh Paryatan Mobile App’ launched by the Ministry of Tourism. With this a total of 100 Adarsh Monuments protected by ASI will be included in the ‘Swachh Paryatan Mobile App’. This App was launched in February 2016 and is monitored by the Project Monitoring Unit of Swachh Bharat Mission in Ministry of Tourism.

The Ministry of Culture observed a Swachhta Pakhwada from 16th to 30th September, 2016 to spread awareness about the need and importance of cleanliness in all the domains. M/o of Culture and its various organizations have made all possible efforts for an efficient observance of the Swachhta Pakhwada.

A promotional film made by IGNCA on the theme “Swachhta Devtva, Ek Samaan” to create awareness about cleanliness at religious places screened at various religious places for wider awareness about cleanliness amongst visitors.

Foundation laying of Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology, ASI

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh laid foundation stone of building of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology at Greater Noida on 28 October 2016. The new building of Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology is being constructed at the cost of Rs. 300 crores. The Institute has been dedicated to Pt. Deendayal Upadhyaya in his birth centenary year.


Sanskriti App

Sanskriti is a Mobile App to view cultural events of India. The main categories of events that can be viewed are Music, Theatre, Dance, Exhibitions, Film Shows, Literature, Lectures and Programs for children. This Application provides updates on the Events organized under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. It gives the list of events and automatically detects current location of the mobile and the city is selected accordingly. User can also select city of his choice and see the listings. User can also search the events by Venue, Date or Location. There are 9 categories in the App i.e. Music, Dance, Theatre, Exhibition, Film Shows, Children, Literature, Lectures and others. There are number of sub categories in all categories.

Sanskriti Channels: 45 Channels with 15 Categories are now functional on the website of the Ministry of Culture.

Cultural Scheme Monitoring System (CSMS): The administration and implementation of the various schemes run by the Ministry of Culture have been delegated to organizations under the charge of the Ministry in order to facilitate and speed up processing. All 17 major schemes have been made online and application forms have been simplified. The system aims to ensure transparency and effective monitoring.

Cultural Mapping of India

The mandate of Ministry of Culture is to preserve, promote, explore and share India’s culture and heritage along with its ethos and values for the benefit of mankind. In pursuance of this vision, among others, Ministry of Culture has been administering a few finance-based schemes to identify, nurture hand-hold and train the upcoming and budding artistes on a sustained basis. This is carried out by way of grant of scholarships, fellowships, pensions, and other forms of grants/assistance.

With a view to reach every nook and corner throughout the length and breadth of the country; there is a need to have data-base of such art forms and artists, which we refer to as “Cultural Mapping”. This could consolidate the data at one place in a systematic manner and help us to streamline and rationalize various financial grant schemes being implemented by the Ministry for artists and cultural organizations, and ensure effectiveness, transparency and value for money.

The work of entry of data of artists has been assigned to CCRT, New Delhi. Till date data on more than 1 Crore artists has been collected. In order to collect the data of artists, Ministry is also taking the help of State Govt. and other organizations.

Celebration of International Buddha Poornima Diwas

‘International Buddha Poornima Diwas 2016’ was celebrated in New Delhi on 21st May 2016 to commemorate the Thrice Blessed Day of Buddha’s Birth, Sambodhiprapti and Mahaparinirvana falling on the auspicious full moon day of the month of Vaishakh. To mark this most auspicious occasion, various Buddhist bodies and organizations of India have come together under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture to commemorate and celebrate the day in a grand manner in New Delhi.

2nd Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav

The 2nd Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav(RSM)-2016 was organized by Ministry of Culture from 15th to 24th October, 2016 at IGNCA, New Delhi. All the seven ZCCs, Sangeet Natak Akademi and IGNCA participated in the Mahotsav. Out of Rs. 10.00 crore earmarked for this Mahotsav, an amount of Rs. 7.50 crore has been released to NCZCC, Allahabad for organizing this RSM.

The 3rd Rashtriya Sanskriti Mahotsav was held at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi during 17th -24th December, 2016.

The next editions of RSM will be held in Jammu &Kashmir, Arunachal Pradesh and Karnataka at budget estimates of Rs 5 crore each in the current financial year.


The digital collection of more than 52,289 images in respect of selected Museums, where Jatan software is being implemented in the first phase, has been transferred to the Digital Repository at C-DAC Pune and is available for public viewing on the web portal “”. In addition, 12 virtual exhibitions have also been uploaded on this web portal for public viewing.

A total of 14,00,740 antiquities have been documented and Data of 3.15 lakhs of Built Heritage & Sites (BH&S) and antiquities has been uploaded on National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities (NMMA) website. NMMA has documented 61,132 antiquities so far through Documentation Resources Centre.

Gandhi Heritage

All components of Dandi project namely construction of National Dandi Memorial, development of Dandi Heritage Path from Ahmadabad to Dandi and development of 21 Night Halt places have been approved. Government of India has also accorded its approval for the construction of National Dandi Memorial at Dandi. Construction of the Heritage path has begun. Work relating to 21 night halt places is under progress.

Gandhi Heritage Sites Mission has taken up several projects. These include up gradation and modernization of Gandhi Ashram Trust at Noakhali (Bangladesh); up gradation of the Gandhi Smarak Sangrahalaya, Barrackpore, Kolkata; curating exhibition of permanent nature at Pietermaritzburg Railway Station, South Africa and creation of data base relating to Gandhi Heritage Sites etc.

Festivals of India Abroad

Festivals of India have been organized in Myanmar, Hungary, Morocco, Italy and Egypt. Festivals of India, is currently on-going in Spain and Australia.

Standing Committee on Festivals of India Abroad, approved holding of Festivals of India also in Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Guyana, Korea (Phase-II), Italy (Phase-II), Netherlands, Oman, Tanzania, Kenya, Cambodia, UAE, Senegal, Sri Lanka (Phase-II), Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Serbia during the year 2016-17.

The Festival of India was held from August to November 2016 in seven cities across Australia. Some of the finest elements of India’s classical and contemporary culture through a variety of dance, music, theatre, visual arts and textiles were presented in the festival. The Festival was coordinated by the High Commission of India in Australia.

“Ganges-Danube Cultural Festival of India” in Hungary was organized on 17 June 2016 at Vigado Theatre in Budapest, Hungary followed by Yoga workshop on 18th June.

A Festival of India was is also being organized in Oman from 15 November, 2016 to 24 March, 2017. The Festival has showcased diverse Indian culture, i.e. classical and folk dance, music, Indian cuisine and Exhibition on Islamic Art Calligraphy. Artists from Jammu & Kashmir are also presented their folk dance and music.

World’s Heritage

“The Excavated Remains at Nalanda” got included in the Tentative List of World Heritage on 09.01.2009. The nomination dossier for ‘Excavated Remains of Nalanda Mahavihara’ was prepared by the ASI and submitted in January 2015 to the World Heritage Committee for the purpose of its inscription in the year 2016 and on 15 July 2016 it has got inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Khangchendzonga National Park (KNP) in Sikkim and The Capitol Complex in Chandigarh were also announced as World Heritage Sites during the 40th session of the WHC held at Istanbul in Turkey in 2016.

Yoga, India’s one of the ancient practices has now been inscribed as an element in the UNESCO’s list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity during the 11th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During this session, India’s proposal for inscribing Yoga as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity was unanimously supported by all the 24 members of the Intergovernmental Committee.

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has submitted the nomination dossier for “Historic City of Ahmedabad”. Minor Boundary Modification Proposal for Humanyuns’ Tomb and “State of Conservation for Hill Forts of Rajasthan” was also submitted to World Heritage Centre, Paris.

International Cultural Relations(ICR)

The Cultural Exchange Programme between India and France for the year 2016-18 was signed on 25th January, 2016.

Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has submitted the nomination dossier for “Historic City of Ahmedabad”. Minor Boundary Modification Proposal for Humanyuns’ Tomb and “State of Conservation for Hill Forts of Rajasthan” was also submitted to World Heritage Centre, Paris.

During the visit of the President of Maldives to India on April 11, 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the subject “Cooperation in the area of conservation and restoration of ancient mosques and joint research and exploratory survey in Maldives” was signed.

The MoU proposes to undertake conservation and restoration of historical mosques and monuments, in Maldives, joint research and exploratory survey, training and capacity building of Maldivian personnel in the areas of heritage conservation etc. The MoU shall be valid for five years.

Programme of Cultural Cooperation between India and Uzbekistan for 2015-17 was signed.

Cultural Agreement between India and Kyrgyz Republic was signed.

Programme of Cultural Cooperation between India and Tajikistan for 2016-18 was signed.

Programme of Cultural Cooperation between India and Bulgaria for 2015-2017 was signed on 4th September, 2015.

Release of Netaji Files

On the occasion of 119th birth anniversary of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, the Prime Minister, released 100 declassified files on Netaji in a function held at National Archives of India on 23rd January 2016 and organized a thematic display of these original files relating to various aspects of Netaji’s life.

The final installment of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose files/papers was released on 28th October, 2016. Till date all 303 files received from PMO, MHA and MEA has been released by National Archives of India.

Digital Exhibition-‘Uniting India: Sardar Patel’

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a Digital Exhibition – “Uniting India : Sardar Patel” organized by the Ministry of Culture on the occasion of Rashtriya Ekta Diwas- the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, former Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India in National Science Centre, New Delhi on 31st October 2016.

The Digital Exhibition has a total of 29 exhibits where a small film on the life of Sardar Patel has been prepared for wider awareness about his unmatched personality. The Exhibition has showcased that a total 565 princely states, some of which were ruled by Maharajas and others by Nawabs, started believing they would become independent rulers of their kingdoms as in the pre-British era. The exhibition has also showcased the vision of free India which was Sardar Patel’s insight, wisdom and diplomacy that drove sense into the minds of the monarchs who agreed accession to the Indian Republic.


Commemorations have been celebrated in 2015-16 like that of Lala Lajpat Rai, Maharana Pratap, Rani Gaidinliu, Tatya Tope, Bhisham Sahni and 500 years of return of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu to Vrindavan.

Released a Commemorative Coin of Rs 150 and a Circulation Coin of Rs 10 on Late Lala Lajpat Rai on 28th October 2016. The Ministry has celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai from 28th January 2015 to 28th January 2016.

As part of “Commemoration of Tatya Tope’s 200th Birth Anniversary”, the Ministry of Culture with the support of Nehru Memorial Museum and Library organized a Special Lecture and a National Conference. Prof. Makkhan Lal, of Delhi Institute of Heritage Research and Management, New Delhi gave the Special Lecture on the topic of ‘First War of Independence and the Indian Nation’ on 16th February 2016. Released a Commemorative Coin of Rs. 200/- and a Circulation Coin of Rs. 10/- on Tatya Tope on the occasion of his Martyr Day on 18th April 2016

As a part of 475th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Maharana Pratap, Ministry has released a Commemorative coin of Rs. 100/- and a Circulation coin of Rs. 10/- in New Delhi on 9th May 2016.

Ministry of Culture received ‘Shri Chaitanya Prem Rath’ as part of Commemoration of 500th Anniversary of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s coming to Vrindavan amidst chanting of Hare Krishna by a group of devotees followed by Nritya Natika “Damodar Leela” written by Shri Vilv Mangal in the Auditorium of IGNCA, Janpath, New Delhi on 9th March 2016. A Commemorative Non-Circulation Coin of ₹500 and a Circulation Coin of ₹10 as part of year-long celebrations of commemoration of “500thAnniversary of Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s Coming to Vrindavan” on 25th November 2016.

Jashn-e-bachpan, 2016- first ever National Theatre Festival for children organized by NSD.

Sanskar Rang Toli (Theatre-in-Education (TIE) Company) of National School of Drama (NSD) organized its first ever National Theatre Festival for children titled “Jashnebachpan” in November, 1998, which is now a regular biannual feature of the TIE Company that invites plays by and for children from different regions of the country.

This year for the first time, Jashnebachpan 2016 as an International Theatre Festival for children was organized at New Delhi during the period from 14th to 25th November, 2016.

The function concluded on 25th November, 2016 with a performance of “Dinosaur” by Katkatha Puppet Arts Trust in the School’s open lawn. Shri Irfan Khan, eminent theatre and film actor was the Chief Guest on this occasion.

Other Prominent Achievements

“Ganga Sanskriti Yatra” showcasing & discovering culture heritage of Ganga was organised from Gangotri to Gangasagar from 14 February to 13 March, 2016 in 262 different venues connecting with over 2.5 crore people. The objective of ‘Ganga Sanskriti Yatra’ is to showcase and discover the cultural diversity and heritage of Ganga river basin and also to spread necessary awareness to the masses about its safeguarding and rejuvenating.

New Interpretation Centre “Kashi Avinashi or Kashi the eternal city” inaugurated at Man Mahal, Man Mandir Varanasi by Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (I/C) for Culture & Tourism on 5th March 2016.

The 13th World Robot Olympiad, jointly organized by National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) under the aegis of Ministry of Culture and India STEM Foundation (ISF), form November 26th – November 27th at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida( Uttar Pradesh). The theme for the Olympiad was ‘Rap the Scrap’. Over 2000 students from 51 countries were participated in the international championship and showcaseed innovative solutions using robotics technology to reduce, manage and recycle waste.

Gallery titled ‘Hall of Nuclear Power – Atoms Serving the Nation’ was conceptualized, designed and developed by National Science Centre, Delhi in collaboration with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited. The gallery was inaugurated on 16th January, 2016.

A New Innovation Hub at Regional Science City, Lucknow was inaugurated on January 4th January, 2016.

On the occasion of Finale of 125th Foundation Year Celebrations, National Archives of India (NAI) organized a week long celebrations from 7th -11th March 2016 in which following activities were conducted :-

Launch of emblem of NAI with tagline: The emblem of NAI released by Dr. Mahesh Sharma depicts the line drawing of the facades building of set against brown colour that signifies the historical and archival character of its holdings. The tagline of Sanskrit phra वयं अभिलेखान रक्षाम: ( Vyam Abhilekhaani Rakshamah ) or We Protect Records carries the ethos of work and commitment of the National Archives of India as sentinel of nation’s documentary heritage .

Release of two Commemorative Coin on NAI :A Commemorative coin of Rs. 125/- and a Circulating Coin of Rs.10/ was released by Dr. Mahesh Sharma.

Release of Commemorative Postal Stamp of Rs. 5/- with first day cover : Shri L.N. Sharma, Chief Post Master General , Delhi circle released these stamps and First day cover and presented them to Dr. Mahesh Sharma.