Describing the government’s efforts on the “The National Commission for Heritage Sites Bill, 2009” as “half-hearted”, a
Parliamentary committee report has said the government appeared to have put up the legislation only to keep up appearances.
The bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in February and was referred to the standing committee, which oversees matters relating to Culture. The committee headed by Parliamentary Committee leader Sitaram Yechury (CPM) pointed out that India had done painfully little in the last 32 years to come up with a legislation to protect “valuable heritage sites”.
According to the Ministry of Culture — the portfolio has been retained by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in UPA two — the rationale behind the bill was to put in place a mechanism to ensure effective and active measures for protection and conservation of national heritages sites.
The committee has found flaws in even basic definitions of terms within the bill and disagreed with the government’s move to have only three members in the commission who had professional expertise in heritage matters.
The report said “It appears that the sole purpose behind bringing this Bill is to fulfil the government’s obligation under the World Convention on National Heritage.”