Stressing that it was "time for winds of change to blow", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said the government has liberalised the rules for recruiting executive heads of eight national-level cultural institutions, including the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and would appoint "outstanding professionals".
"It is time for winds of change to blow through our institutions, our museums, our libraries and our academies... To my mind, the top most priority of the Ministry of Culture is to oversee the professionalisation of the management of our cultural resources and institutions," Manmohan Singh said here.
The prime minister was speaking after the tele-inauguration of the new campus of the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian studies. He also laid the foundation stone of the Science Exploration Hall of the Science City.
Asserting that the task of preserving India's ancient historical and cultural treasure should devolve on the best of professionals available in the country, Manmohan Singh said: "We recognise that bureaucratisation tends to negate cultural expression and preservation."
"As a decisive first step, we have liberalised the rule for recruiting the executive heads of eight national-level institutions. We are going to make appointments of outstanding professionals to head the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and other institutions very soon," Manmohan Singh said during his 20-minute speech.
He said the central government was also looking into the aspects of providing functional autonomy and flexibility to effectively run these institutions.
"I have always said the funds will never be a constraint when it comes to the question of preserving our cultural heritage. We will at the same time ensure proper accountability and oversight," Manmohan Singh said.
The prime minister has also asked the Ministry of Culture to come up with a long-term plan for increasing the talent pool of professional cultural administrators and managers to run the museums, archives and academies.
"We have to encourage studies in art appreciation, antiquarian studies and museology and also set up an international-level post graduate course in museum management. The government could consider funding chairs in select universities to enhance interest and studies in such areas," the prime minister added.