From temple to technology: the government plans a new “intellectual heritage” project

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From the restoration of “historical sites”, such as the Temple of Ram and the Temple of Somnath, and paying tribute to freedom fighters at Jallianwala Bagh Samarak; economic policies such as the GST at the National Education Mission, the digital mission and scholarships for athletes; from unique IDs for people with disabilities to heroes and stories of India’s tribal community.

These are some of the key themes around which the Union Ministry of Education plans to create a “developing intellectual heritage” – a program for dialogue, documentation and research on the initiatives of the Modi government.

The broad lines of this project were outlined in a letter dated June 28 sent by Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to several central ministries and departments requesting their participation.

“We propose to create an ‘intellectual heritage’ in the development, knowledge resources and making of the new India, based on these initiatives. Some of the themes based on these initiatives from various government ministries/departments have been identified… Dialogues, documentation, research and publications will be planned and organized in various academic institutions over the next 3 months from the first week of July 2022 on these themes,” Pradhan wrote.

According to the letter, the plan is to hold about 100 conferences across the country on 100 themes during these three months, where research papers based on secondary data and sources available in ministries or elsewhere will be presented.

Researchers from reputable higher education institutions will contribute these articles, which will eventually be published in a book.

Some of the focus areas identified in the letter are:

“Economic Reforms and Emerging Global Economy”: Ministry of Finance and relevant Ministries will focus on India becoming fastest growing economy, expansion of markets across borders, one year record export, GST, making India a favorable investment destination, transparency in procurement, Atmarnirbhar Bharat, etc.

‘India’s Great Cultural Heritage: Bhavyata and Divyata’: Ministry of Culture to focus on ‘Bringing Our Cultural History Home’, ‘Tribute to India’s Great Freedom Fighters’, Statue of the ‘Unity, Kranti Mandir (Red Fort), Jallianwala Bagh Samarak and the 150th anniversary of the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. The letter also refers to the restoration of historic sites including Ram Janmabhoomi Temple and Somnath Temple, among others.

“Tech-Powered India: Transforming Work, Empowering People”: The Ministry of IT will conduct research on “Harnessing IT for Good Governance” and “Jeevan Parmaan Patra”, “Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission”, Atma Nirbhar India through Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New Age Governance).

Ministry of Education initiatives to be highlighted include the National Education Policy, Samagra Shiksha (National Education Mission), NIPUN Bharat/National Achievement Survey (NAS), Higher Education Funding Agency, the National Initiative for the Holistic Advancement of School Leaders and Teachers (NISHTHA), the Program for Higher Education Youth in Apprenticeship and Skills (SHREYAS), Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyaan (RUSA) and PM-eVidya.

And in sports, the focus will be on Ministry of Sports programs such as the Fit India and SPOT scholarships.

The letter also asks the Ministry of Social Justice to focus on “empowerment of Divyangs UDID (Unique Identity Card for Persons with Disabilities)” and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to highlight “the restoration of Janjatiya Gourav to through heroes, stories”, “Eklavya model residential school” and scholarships.

In his letter, Pradhan wrote: “These conferences will be conducted in HEIs where the participation of your well-being as well as your senior managers/experts/practitioners will be sought. I kindly ask you to request your ministry to go through the topics listed in the appendix and add/modify/delete the same. I would also ask that you please consider supporting this academic activity, as the research output will be returned to you for use in your ministry.

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