Focus: GS-I Art and Culture, Prelims
Why in news?
- The number of monuments under the Centre’s protection could increase as the government is planning to conduct a review of those under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the ones protected by the State governments.
- As of March 2020, 3,691 monuments nationwide are protected by the ASI, with the highest number, 745, in Uttar Pradesh.
- The list of Centrally protected monuments can go up to 10,000.
- In Tamil Nadu alone, there are about 7,000 temples, many of which are hundreds of years old.
- On the other hand, there are some monuments under the ASI that can be shifted to the State list.
- There is a ban on construction within 100 metres of a Centrally protected monument and regulated construction within 100-200 metres under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
About Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
- The Archaeological Survey of India is an Indian government agency attached to the Ministry of Culture.
- ASI is responsible for archaeological research and the conservation and preservation of cultural monuments in the country.
- Maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance is the prime concern of the ASI.
- Besides it regulate all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
- It also regulates Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.
- For the maintenance of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance the entire country is divided into 24 Circles.
- The organization has a large work force of trained archaeologists, conservators, epigraphist, architects and scientists for conducting archaeological research projects through its Circles, Museums, Excavation Branches, Prehistory Branch, Epigraphy Branches, Science Branch, Horticulture Branch, Building Survey Project, Temple Survey Projects and Underwater Archaeology Wing.
- The most important of the society’s achievements was the decipherment of the Brahmi script by James Prinsep in 1837. This successful decipherment inaugurated the study of Indian palaeography.