Historic Preservation
NREGA: hope for historic monuments in rural India
India is among the world�s oldest civilization replete with innumerable ancient and heritage monuments spread across the vast terrains of this country which include grand fortifications such
as Ranthambore, remains of ancient cities such as Hampi, mosques and imambaras in Murshidabad , historic tanks such as the Rani ki Vav in Patan which is tentatively on verge of being declared a world heritage site, archaeological mounds situated in places such as Rakhigarhi and a vast number of modest buildings such as the church in Sadhana, hunting lodge at Narnaul,
Trimukhi Baoli at Dilwara etc. In the UK over 6, 00,000 buildings are protected, there are over 10,000 Conservation Areas, similarly American Towns such as Washington DC have over 40,000 protected buildings within several dozen conservation areas, while in India we offer legal protection to under 10,000 buildings (173 in Delhi) and there are only a few recognized Conservation Areas and even for these no special plans have either been prepared or being
implemented.Thus literally every district and taluka of this country is bestowed with a number of heritage buildings which are to be taken care of properly but are languishing in despair due to lack of attention & want of funds.A total number of 36754 structures are under the protection of Archaeological Survey of India
and approximately 35735 structures with the State Department of Archaeology, where as the
actual number of heritage buildings is estimated over 1,00,000. However, when compared with
the United Kingdom, the number of heritage buildings (unprotected buildings) in India should
exceed a million.
The six decades of planning efforts in India have been successful in producing agricultural production to the level that we are now self-sufficient. At the same time, considerable increase in
productive capacity of the industrial sector is apparent. The services and infrastructural facilities
over period�s have been improved significantly. Thus, in aggregate terms, results of our planning present a pretty rosy picture. But in reality our country still suffers from the basic problems faced by any developing nation such as lack of social and physical infrastructure, lack of employment, poverty etc. �It is also apparent, that in the Indian condition that one is more
concerned with improving the quality of life than preserving authenticity. Therefore conservation and development are not mutually exclusive; they should and can be part of a single planning process. Conservation Projects need provision for development just as surely as development requires an approach to determining conservation policy.�Conservation goals in synergy with the objectives of developmental schemes such as the
National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) will no doubt help us achieve
sustainable conservation of heritage monuments in various parts of rural India which have been
languishing in despair due to lack of monetary support, non-existent physical infrastructure and
in turn also benefits local communities with improved quality of life, economic growth through
capacity building and potentially lead to creation of tourism .
Therefore we need a catalyst that can help us effectively tap our vast potential of heritage
monuments in rural India and also lead to the socio-economic-cultural development of the
rural setting in which the structures are situated.
The aim of this study is to identify possibilities of harnessing the potential of built heritage for
sustainable rural development. The heritage assets represent an important cultural resource
whose optimum utilization will result in the economic development of rural, backward areas
coupled with development of physical infrastructure. Developmental schemes like NREGA(National Rural Employment Guarantee Act)
could provide requisite funds for the conservation of heritage structures in rural India, which will
result in much needed conservation of these structures and in turn provide employment to the
local population. The heritage buildings could be used to attract tourism & serving pragmatic
functions of social institutions such as health centers, vocational training centers, community
halls, aanganwadis etc. With the advent of heritage tourism, significant development in the
physical infrastructure of the surrounding areas can be expecte
Prashant Banerjee
NREGA: hope for historic monuments in rural India
Very true Prashant, a noble thought.
Sriraj Gokarakonda
NREGA: hope for historic monuments in rural India
Undoubtly You have a thorough research....i liked the program of NREGA... can u please provide me with additional information as to where is this program operating from, the architects or conservationists involved and other related details...
Neha Verma
NREGA: hope for historic monuments in rural India excellent abstract. I think your focus of heritage structure in rural areas is commendable. I would also observe that yoou would be able to avoid the problems that heritage projects suffer in urban areas like lobby groups, conflicting interests and population pressure.
Somshankar Bose
NREGA: hope for historic monuments in rural India
actually, this is an extract from my under-graduate dissertation. a proposal was sent to the ministry of culture , but i am unaware about the fate of the proposal. no specific response from the ministry of culture.
currently i am working as an architect with Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Delhi and i am pursuing to be a conservation architect
Prashant Banerjee
NREGA: hope for historic monuments in rural India
a clarification,

A total number of 3675 structures are under the protection of Archaeological Survey of India
and approximately 3573 structures with the State Department of Archaeology,
Prashant Banerjee
NREGA: hope for historic monuments in rural India
� NREGA is an opportunity to be taken up whole heartedly by the conservation agencies so that requisite funds and manpower could be provided for conservation works in rural India and linkages to socio-economic development are established.
Prashant Banerjee


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