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Minor changes in budget for culture ministry

IANS  |  New Delhi 

There was a meagre 0.46 percent increase in the budgetary allocation for the ministry of culture for 2015-2016 as compared to last year.

The plan expenditure allocation for 2015-2016 is Rs.2,169 crore whereas it was Rs.2,159 crore last year, said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday while presenting the Union Budget.

However, Sahitya Akademi (SA) and National School of Drama (NSD) were badly affected as their budget allocations were cut by 54 and 44 percent, respectively.

SA's money allocations have been reduced from 21.23 percent to 9.76 percent and NSD'S from 43.03 percent to 13.45 percent.

The scheme of Financial Assistance for promotion of Art and Culture has been brutally axed with money allocations reduced from 59.33 crore to 3.20 crore.

However, Rs.656.77 crore has been earmarked for the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) compared to last years's Rs.607.30.

In his budget speech, Jaitley said there was a great need to improve facilities at the Unesco World Heritage Sites in India and for this the government will start restoration process at eight sites.

"Facilities like landscaping restoration, signage and interpretation centres, parking, access for differently-abled, amenities for visitors, including securities and toilets, illumination and plans for benefiting communities around them would be restored," he said.

Jaitley proposed to provide resources to start work heritage sites like Hampi (Karnataka), Kumbalgarh and hill forts of Rajasthan, Rani ki Vav and Patan (Gujarat), Varanasi temple town (Uttar Pradesh), Jallianwala Bagh (Amritsar) and Qutub Shahi tombs (Hyderabad).

There are 32 world heritage properties in India, of which 25 are cultural properties and seven are natural properties.

First Published: Sat, February 28 2015. 18:26 IST