Constitution of India stipulates that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to value and preserve the rich heritage of composite culture. We thus, have a special responsibility for preservation of our heritage as one of our fundamental duties. The Ministry of Culture is responsible for the preservation and conservation and Executive Summary promotion of Indian heritage and culture. The Ministry through the Archaeological Survey of India and the Museums is engaged in the protection of all centrally protected monuments of national importance, excavation of historical sites and collection and showcasing the art objects of historical and cultural importance.
Through this performance audit, we evaluated the efforts of the Ministry of Culture towards protection, conservation and preservation of country's tangible heritage of monuments and antiquities. Heritage structures, sites and antiquities are national assets. The work on heritage identification and preservation started in mid nineteenth century in India much before the independence. However, since independence, the progress made over the years had not been reviewed comprehensively. In the recent times, there has been an increased consciousness in the Indian community towards the heritage and its conservation. In 2012, ASI completed 150 years of existence. Many of its major excavation projects were, however, lying incomplete for years. The preservation projects being undertaken by the ASI too have been marred by several inadequacies and limitations.
The organisation has serious funds and manpower shortages for the conservation related activities. There is also a rising trend of incidences of antiquity theft and smuggling of antiquities from the country. Country's premier museums lack resources and planning for proper upkeep, security and display of collected art objects. Noting the above scenario, we planned this performance audit with the aim to assist the executive in identifying the reasons behind deficient performance of the organisations in the field of heritage preservation and conservation for enabling effective rectificatory steps.