The union government has found 24 monuments and sites in the country "untraceable," a minister told the parliament on 8 August. Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy said in a written response to another question in Lok Sabha, "It is estimated that 210 thefts, involving 486 objects, have been reported from centrally-protected monuments/sites located in 19 states and union territories since Independence".
Recovery of stolen objects is an ongoing process and 91 objects have been recovered so far, he said.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has surveyed 8,478 villages in the last eight years and antiquarian remains have been found in 2,914 of them, Reddy said in response to another query. He said that the ASI regularly conducted "village to village surveys to explore and record the antiquarian remains".
There are a total of 3,693 heritage sites in India protected by the ASI, with 743 in Uttar Pradesh, the largest in any state.
In a written response to a question as to the number of missing monuments in the country, the government said, "24 monuments/sites are untraceable". The minister also shared state-wise details about the village-to-village survey carried out by the ASI during the period spanning from 2014-15 to 2021-22.
Out of the 8,478 villages, the maximum number of villages were surveyed in Punjab — 1,459, followed by Karnataka — 933, and antiquarian remains were found in 130 and 806 villages respectively in these two states.
In response to another query, Reddy said during the last five years (2017-2021), 3,152 villages were surveyed, out of which antiquarian remains were reported in 905 villages.
In response to another question, Reddy said the ASI undertook conservation works of 743 monuments, including 144 temples, in Uttar Pradesh. Conservation of monuments is a continuous process. Works are carried out by the ASI in accordance with site requirements and available resources, he said.
Further, 1,224 monuments have cultural notice boards, the minister said.
On a query on the total number of ticketed and non-ticketed ASI monuments in the country, he said, there are 3,693 monuments, sites declared as of national importance under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958 in the country, "out of which entry fee is charged at 143 locations".
In response to another query he said, for entry fee purposes, monuments have been divided into two groups. Group 'A'- monuments inscribed on the World Heritage list, Group 'B'- others. Category 'A' has 20 entries and the remaining 123 are under Category 'B', he said.
On a separate query on whether "it is a fact that the Government is considering to fund a project to study genetic similarities and differences in the DNA (genetic) profiles of India population groups," the minister replied, "No".
"Some vague reports of carrying out a study on 'racial purity' by the Ministry of Culture appeared in a few print media which was immediately refuted. A joint representation on the subject was also received," he said.
In a response to another query, Reddy said till date, approximately 60,000 programmes had been organised all over India by central ministries or state governments under the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.