Adopt a Heritage Scheme is a recently launched scheme to improve the present state of the national monuments.
• Bodies involved: The ‘Adopt a Heritage: Apni Dharohar, Apni Pehchaan’ scheme is an initiative of the Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Archaeological Survey of India.
• Background: It was launched in September 2017.
• Objective: To increase Public Private Partnership (PPP) in conservation and maintenance of heritage sites.
• Monument Mitras:
Under this, private and public sector companies have been invited to become `friends of monuments’ (Monument Mitras).
They will adopt heritage sites, develop basic amenities (e.g. drinking water access) & advanced amenities (e.g. surveillance systems) and look after their maintenance.
For their services, they will be ‘given visibility’ on the monument premises as well as on the tourism ministry’s Incredible India website.
• Coverage: To begin with, the scheme focusses on 93 ASI ticketed monuments. It will be expanded to include other natural and cultural sites across India.
• As per the MoU, the Dalmia Group will spend Rs. 25 crore over the next five years on the fort’s upkeep.
• The money will be used to fund a light and sound show at the fort, and for proving amenities like clean toilets, free Wi-Fi, a cafeteria, and construction of ramps for differently-abled visitors.
• Opposition Critiques:
Government is trying to commercialise the iconic Red Fort and symbol of India’s independence.
Commitment of Rs. 25 crore by the Dalmia group for upkeep of the Red Fort could have easily been committed by the government from its own budget.
Private corporate groups (e.g. Dalmia, a cement company) lack expertise in heritage management.
Instead the tourism ministry could have relied on specialist agencies like INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) or the Aga Khan Trust, which has done splendid work on Humayun’s tomb and other Islamic monuments in Delhi.