Which government controls archaeological excavations in India?

Archaeological sites are enlisted in Union List, State List as well as the Concurrent List in the constitution of India. These entries are as follows:

  • Union List – 67. Ancient and historical monuments and records, and archaeological sites and remains, declared by or under law made by Parliament to be of national importance.
  • State List – 12. Libraries, museums and other similar institutions controlled or financed by State, ancient and historical monuments and records other than those declared by under law made by Parliament to be of national importance.
  • Concurrent List 40. Archaeological sites and remains other than those declared by or under law made by Parliament] to be of national importance

However, archaeological excavations are controlled in India but the Union Government via Archaeological Survey of India. In recent times, the states have demands to put the subject of excavation under concurrent list so that they can legislate on Archaeological sites and remains in their territories. According to the AMASR Act (Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains ), prior approval of the Central Government is a must for undertaking any excavation for archaeological purposes, in any area whether it is protected or other than protected area. Please note that this act has been amended recently for giving definition to the Heritage sites. The new legislation has also provided a framework for meeting international obligations under UNESCO Heritage Conservation to which India is a signatory since 1977.

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