Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is making his presence felt in the culture ministry.
A ministry official who did not wish to be named told HT that the PM’s orders were clear: find a solution to prevent a
repeat of the embarrassment India faced when Mahatma Gandhi’s spectacles and watch almost went on the auction block in New York in March.
Singh had retained the culture portfolio when he assumed charge as PM in May.
Officials said an amendment to the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972, was on the anvil to cover items that belonged to national heroes. It could make it mandatory for owners to register such memorabilia. They’ll also be barred from selling or auctioning them.
“This was just one suggestion that was discussed,” culture secretary Jawahar Sircar said. Some favoured a new Act, but others said we should ignore such stunts.