Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday said modern technology and professional management practices should be introduced to preserve the country's vast historical and archaeological treasures and cultural heritage.

He was speaking after dedicating the new campus of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies and laying the foundation of the second phase of Science City here.

The topmost priority of the Culture Ministry is to ensure professionalism in the management of cultural resources and institutions, he said asserting that funds would not be a constraint in this regard.

Dr. Singh said as a decisive first step, the government has liberalised rules for recruiting executive heads in eight national-level cultural institutions.

"We are going to appoint outstanding professionals to head Archaeological Survey of India and other institutions very soon," the Prime Minister said.

These national-level institutions need functional autonomy and flexibility to run effectively, he said adding,

"We are looking into these aspects and I have always said that funds will never be a constraint when it comes to the question of preserving our cultural heritage."

The government would at the same time ensure proper accountability and supervision, he said.

The Prime Minister said many monuments, works of art and historical remains are lying in neglect in the country.

"Despite our best intentions, the manner in which we preserve and display our artefacts has fallen below the contemporary world standards.

"And there is no reason why the Indian Museum or other premier museums should not be on par with the Smithsonian, the Hermitage or the British museum," he said, adding that the Ministry of Culture has always taken up the revamp of country's museums on a priority basis.

Dr. Singh said he had asked the Central Advisory Board on Culture to suggest a plan of action to make the country's museums world class.

Promoting Indian literature

He said Indian writers in English have gained fame world over in recent years, but there was need to popularise contemporary writings in other Indian languages, particularly among the younger generation.

The government has set up a national translation mission and it has been making progress. Modalities and funding were now being worked out.

"I hope in the coming years, modern Indian literature and our classics would be available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish and English.

"It is equally important to expose ourselves to outside cultural influences...We should make all efforts to promote regional studies and studies of foreign languages in India," the prime minister said.

West Bengal acting Governor Devanand Konwar, Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee and Union Culture Secretary Jawhar Sircar were among those present at the function.

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