Historical and Archaeological Findings in News

Monuments of National Importance (MNI) and their Listing/De-Listing


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Monuments of National Importance (MNI)

Mains level: NA

Why in the news?

  • The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to remove 18 “centrally protected monuments” from its list of Monuments of National Importance (MNI), citing a lack of national significance.
  • ASI currently has 3,693 monuments under its purview, which will fall to 3,675 once the current delisting exercise is completed in the next few weeks.

What are Monuments of National Importance (MNI)?

  • MNI in India are legally protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958.
  • This act empowers the Centre to declare certain monuments as MNIs through official notifications published in the Gazette of India.
  • It mandates the protection, preservation, and maintenance of MNIs to ensure their integrity and authenticity for future generations.
  • The Act empowers the central government to appoint authorities, such as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), to oversee the protection and management of MNIs.

Key Features of MNI Protection

  • Prohibited Activities: The Act prohibits certain activities within the precincts of MNIs, such as construction, excavation, and removal of artifacts, without prior permission from the relevant authorities.
  • Designated Zones: Within a 100-meter radius of the monument, construction activities are prohibited to prevent encroachment and damage. An additional 200-meter radius (100 + 200 meters) constitutes a regulated area where construction is subject to specific regulations to maintain the monument’s integrity and surroundings.
  • Maintenance of Records: The Act requires the maintenance of records and registers documenting the history, conservation, and management of MNIs.

Understanding Monument Delisting

  • Once delisted, monuments are no longer subject to ASI conservation efforts, allowing for regular construction activities in the vicinity.
  • Section 35 of the AMASR Act allows for the delisting of monuments deemed to have lost national importance.
  • The delisting process involves official notifications, with a two-month public feedback period to address objections or suggestions.



2015: With reference to art and archaeological history of India, which one among the following was made earliest?

  1. Lingaraja Temple at Bhubaneswar
  2. Rock-cut Elephant at Dhauli
  3. Rock-cut Monuments at Mahabalipuram
  4. Varaha Image at Udayagiri


Practice MCQ:

The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has decided to remove 18 “centrally protected monuments”. This essentially implies:

  1. The site will no longer be conserved, protected, and maintained by the ASI.
  2. Activities related to construction and urbanisation in the area can be carried out in a regular manner.

Which of the given statements is/are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

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