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231 stolen antiques returned to India in the past 9 years: Jitendra Singh


New Delhi: Union Minister Jitendra Singh op Sa said 231 stolen antiquities had been returned to India in the past 9 years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over.

“This is in contrast to the fact that until 2014, during nearly 70 years since independence, some 13 priceless heirloom antiques of Indian origin were brought from abroad by the previous governments,” he said.

The minister said a total of 231 were returned after 2014, with the number now rising to 244 antiques. The process of bringing more such antiquities is accelerating, he added.

During his visit to the first ever three-day International Museum Expo 2023 inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, Jitendra Singh, walking around the various pavilions of the Expo, told the media that in the past 9 years under Prime Minister Modi several unique new initiatives were undertaken, including establishing science museums across the country and a start was made on establishing science museums in ambitious districts.

Through the Department of Biotechnology of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the minister said, we have already set up museums in the Aspirational district of Chamba in Himachal Pradesh, which was inaugurated a few months ago.

Other places where such museums have already become functional or will soon become functional include Wayanad in Kerala, Siddharthnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Nuh in Haryana, Dholpur in Rajasthan, Raichur in Karnataka and Kalyani in West Bengal, he added.

Jitendra Singh said that these museums display, among other things, the traditional knowledge as well as the success stories of recent years such as the first-ever Covid vaccine success story from India, the display of the immune system in relation to disease prevention through vaccines and even including scientific quiz corners.

He also took a tour of Techno Mela, Conservation Lab and the exhibits on display on the occasion. “Prime Minister Modi has given high priority to preserving our heritage and creating a new one,” Singh said.

The International Museum Expo is organized as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav to celebrate the 47th International Museum Day with the annual theme ‘Museums, Sustainability and Welfare’. The International Museum Expo 2023 was inaugurated by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on the annual International Museum Day on May 18, 2023.

During the visit, Jitendra Singh said that the Museum Expo is designed to spark a holistic conversation about museums so that they can develop into cultural hubs that play a vital role in India’s cultural diplomacy, in a year when India holds the G-20 presidency.

The minister appreciated the efforts of various stakeholders, including government officials, museum professionals, academics and aligned technology service providers, in organizing a wonderful museum expo to raise awareness about the country’s heritage.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.