New Delhi: As it completes 150 years of existence, the Archaeological Survey of India will soon bring out a Centrally-sponsored scheme to assist state departments and universities with better financial aid to carry out their work in archaeology field.
   
Culture Minister Kumari Selja made the announcement at a function to launch the celebrations which was attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Tuesday.
   
Singh also released a set of commemorative postage stamp to mark the occasion and unveiled the foundation plaque for ASI's permanent headquarters, which will come up at 24, Tilak Marg. Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal was also present.
   
The postal cover depicts some of the icons of Indian architecture and cultural heritage and the stamps depict some of the images associated with excavation.
   
In her address, Selja said the celebrations will include international conferences, conclave of culture ministers of the world, regional level seminars, exhibitions, series of publications and citizen centric outreach programmes throughout the country.
   
"The ASI is bringing out the long awaited Centrally Sponsored Scheme for assisting state departments of archaeology, universities and institutions with better financial assistance to carry out their work," she said.
   
As part of the celebrations, Selja said, the Ministry was planning to launch a scheme of financial assistance through Fellowships to young archaeologists and to non-Indian Visiting Fellows from Central, South-West and South-East Asia.
   
The proposal includes a special assistance programme to institutions, for conducting research and the analysis of archaeological materials, she said. Selja also said the ASI needs to work closely with the state authorities in order to implement the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendments and Validation) Act of 1958 which was amended in 2010.
   
"This is one of the prime tasks that ASI and the National Monuments Authority are now gripped with," she said.
   
Selja said the Ministry has also taken an initiative to launch a scheme of Tagore National Fellowships and this has assisted in engaging some of the finest experts in different fields of archaeology, she said.

Agencies