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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Ex-Culture Secy to oversee museum upgrade

Singh's post has been created by upgrading the existing post of Director-General, National Museum. This new post has been created under the Ministry of Culture, and Singh, who took charge on September 12, has been given a term of three years.

Written by Divya A | New Delhi | Published: September 29, 2019 3:15:49 am
Singh’s post has been created by upgrading the existing post of Director-General, National Museum. (File)

With a view to streamline the upgradation of existing museums and create several new ones, the government has appointed former culture secretary Raghvendra Singh as the CEO of the Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces.

Singh’s post has been created by upgrading the existing post of Director-General, National Museum. This new post has been created under the Ministry of Culture, and Singh, who took charge on September 12, has been given a term of three years.

The CEO will directly report to the Union minister, sources said. They said that the projects to be prioritised under the CEO are the upcoming Prime Minister’s Museum at Teen Murti Complex and three new museums inside the Red Fort complex.

The Ministry of Culture has an ambitious plan to revamp museums of the country, which includes the modernisation of 11 museums, setting up 100 new museums across the country, and the digitisation of 4.23 lakh artefacts.

All major institutions under the Ministry of Culture, such as the National Gallery of Modern Art (Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai), National Museum, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (Delhi), Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (Delhi), Indian Museum Kolkata, and the Victoria Museum (Kolkata) will now fall under the CEO’s purview, and he will exercise the powers of a secretary in the ministry. However, the Archaeological Survey of India and performing arts institutions such as the National School of Drama and the Sangeet Natak Akademi will continue to fall under Culture Secretary Arun Goel’s purview.

This is the first time that the ministry will have two secretary-level officers, but officials said the new post has been created temporarily to fast-track some long overdue projects envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Speaking to The Indian Express after taking charge, Singh said, “I have envisioned a project to create a cultural hub in Lutyen’s Delhi. All the organisations under the Ministry of Culture do good shows, but continue to function like islands. My aim is to make them interconnected and get them to collaborate.” For this, Singh said, he aims to create a common cultural calendar in a few months’ time.

But first, Singh said that he aims to infuse some life into the National Museum, where his office is located. “We are going to do away with the tedious security set-up at the entrance and make the place more welcoming. Various cultural programmes and workshops will be held in the main rotunda to make it come alive. Two-three cafes will also be set up,” he said, adding that all the galleries will be turned around — be it the Harappa gallery or the coins or paintings galleries, missing links will be added, and stories behind the objects will be digitally displayed on the lines of international museums.

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