[Answered] How far do you think, Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act of 1958 has been successful in protecting the ancient monuments of India?

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Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain how AMASR Act of 1958 has been successful in protecting the ancient monuments of India.  Also, write some challenges in doing so.
Conclusion: Write a way forward.

The history of India’s monuments and heritage sites are as old as the development of Indus Valley civilization. It is important to understand the need to preserve and protect the monuments.  The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.

Successful in protecting the ancient monuments of India:

  • The AMASR Act provides for preservation of ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance.
  • It provides for the regulation of archaeological excavations and for protection of sculptures, carvings and other like objects.
  • The Act prohibits construction in ‘prohibited area’, an area of 100 meters around protected monument.
  • It does not permit construction in such prohibited areas even if it is for public purposes, except under certain conditions.
  • The iconic monuments in India, Taj Mahal, Ajanta Caves, The Great Stupa at Sanchi and the Sun Temple of Konark, among others are designated as “ancient monuments of national importance” and protected under the AMASR Act.


  • The ASI lacks in enforcement powers such as in the Forest Act which could empower it to act against those encroaching at protested sites.
  • Encroachments and illegal construction close to the monuments were happening on a large-scale and the penal provisions in the AMASR Act for endangering ancient monuments were not stringent enough to provide effective deterrence. ASI has to depend on law enforcement authorities to remove encroachments.
  • Not clear distinction between the prohibited and regulated areas. There are many public works and development projects which are stopped due to the AMASR Act’s blanket ban on constructions.

Monuments and old buildings must be preserved because they are the symbol of a nation’s rich history and past. A serious and focused development plan and programmes may develop a closer engagement with our history through these monuments.

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