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National Manuscripts Bill 2023

National Manuscripts Bill 2023:

India’s rich cultural heritage is encapsulated in its ancient manuscripts, which hold invaluable knowledge and historical significance.

  • However, the loss and dispersal of many of these manuscripts, even beyond the country’s borders, have raised concerns.
  • In a significant move, the Indian government is gearing up to address this issue through the introduction of the National Manuscripts Bill, 2023.
  • The primary objectives of the Bill include documenting and cataloguing Indian heritage texts worldwide, maintaining accurate information, and specifying consultation conditions.
  • The bill proposes the establishment of a 10-member National Manuscripts Authority (NMA), chaired by the Culture Minister and including representatives from Culture, Finance, Education, and private agencies.
  • The NMA will oversee digitization, conservation, preservation, editing, and publication of manuscripts.
  • The NMA will possess civil court powers to regulate manuscript access, investigate thefts, and ensure protection against damage or theft.
  • The NMA can acquire manuscripts from private owners based on content importance, with compensation determined by an expert committee.
  • Manuscripts is a handwritten composition on materials like palm leaf, paper, cloth, and bark, in Sanskrit and regional languages, dating back at least 75 years.
  • India possesses approximately 10 million manuscripts in 80 ancient scripts, with the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM) responsible for preservation.
  • The Bakhshali manuscript, an ancient mathematical text, showcases the early use of zero and dates back to the third or fourth century A.D.