We are all fascinated by history, the stories the old buildings hold, the tales that unfold in the incredible architecture from hundreds of years ago. But if we don’t look after these precious monuments, the same voices become distant echos. In a bid to safeguard and upkeep our monuments, as well as preserve those pages of history, the archeological survey of India launched the “Adopt a Heritage” programme in 2017. Recently the ASI in the presence of Shri Kishen Reddy, Minister of Culture and Tourism, along with Meenakshi Lekhi, MoS, Culture, launched “Adopt a Heritage 2.0”, which is an extension of the same project, Apni Darohar, Apni Pehchaan that was launched in 2017. Under this initiative the ASI urges the corporate sector to leverage their CSR funds to help support the upkeep of our important but often neglected monuments of the country. A user-friendly app was also launched called the “Indian Heritage App”, offering State-specific heritage sites, with photos, geo tagging, a citizen feedback feature and an e-permission portal to expedite the permission-granting process for the adoption.
Earlier the process for acquiring approvals for photography, filming, and developmental initiatives concerning heritage monuments, was a long-drawn process.The 2.0 version has made the structure leaner for the partner agencies with clearer guidelines for semi-commercial activities and detailed scope of work required for monuments. Also, another 1,000 monuments and historical sites have been added to the list for adoption.
Who is eligible for adopting a heritage site?
Private and Public Sector Companies, Trusts, NGOs and Individuals are eligible for adopting heritage sites and monuments under this project. However, the finalisation of this interest depends on the evaluation of their proposal by a committee.
The objective of this project is not only to develop basic world quality tourism infrastructure in and around heritage sites, monuments, natural sites and tourist sites, but also help the entire eco-system around them. Along with that it is to promote the cultural and heritage value of the country and develop avenues to create awareness about the same.
Earlier, corporate partners’ proposed expression of interest would go through two levels of scrutiny, now it’s been made seem less. Also big corporate entities were a encouraged to adopt smaller monuments or “low visibility sites” along with the monuments they adopted, but now that’s not the case. As according to the Additional Director General of the ASI, Gurmeet Chawla, these policies were not met with an enthusiastic response and would often prevent companies from adopting monuments altogether.
In the updated programme, more freedom and flexibility have been given to the companies such as the option to either adopt a monument in whole and develop its tourism infrastructure, or provide only one particular amenity such as drinking water facility or do cleaning for the sites.
The current Government has upped India’s tourism experience manifold and this project is part of the same vision — to enhance the travel experience of tourists. It aims at ensuring quality of amenities and facilities across heritage, natural, & tourist sites through active participation of private and public sector organizations and individuals. All these partners and collaborators would be known as “Monument Mitras” for their collaboration initiative.
The Monument Mitras are entrusted with the development, upgradation and maintenance of amenities and facilities at the heritage, natural and tourist sites, together with innovation and technology interventions to increase awareness about these historical treasures.
The project first began with 93 ASI monuments and has today extended to heritage, natural and tourist sites across India. These sites are classified into various categories based on their visibility and tourist footfall. The “Monument Mitras” would in turn get visibility on the monument premises and Ministry of Tourism digital platforms for their initiative.