National Monuments Authority (NMA) under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India has been setup as per provisions of The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains AMASR (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010 which was enacted in March, 2010. Several functions have been assigned to the NMA for the protection and preservation of monuments and sites through management of the prohibited and regulated area around the centrally protected monuments. One amongst these responsibilities of NMA is also to consider grant of permissions to applicants for construction related activity in the prohibited and regulated area.
With increase of urbanization, development, growth and increasing population pressure, there is growing pressure on land including the land around centrally protected monuments. As this often affects the monument/site adversely it is important that such growth around the centrally protected monuments is properly regulated, balancing the needs of individuals and growth and development on the one hand and the requirements of preservation and protection of these monuments on the other.
These provisions underwent a change in 2010 following the Amendment to the AMASR Act. The NMA and the Competent Authorities (CA) were setup and now all applications for construction related work in the prohibited and regulated area are to be submitted to the CA and then to NMA for consideration of the application.
A few other important changes have also been brought in by the 2010 Act. Some of these are:-
•Statutory provision for the ‘prohibited’ and regulated areas.
•Complete ban on construction (including public projects) in the prohibited area.
•Providing statutory procedures for applications seeking permission for construction/repair/renovation.
• The authority shall make necessary scrutiny of the Heritage bye laws and accord approval after inviting objections/suggestions from the public
•Grading and classification of monuments.
The Act provides for NMA to be constituted with a Chairperson and up to 5 Whole Time and 5 Part Time Members each and a Member Secretary. DG ASI is an ex officio Member. 1 Whole Time and 2 Part Time Members were appointed in November 2011. A Chairperson was also appointed in August, 2012.
The Act provides for CAs to be the officers of the Central or State Governments not below the rank of Commissioner / Director of Archaeology. After consultations and with the consent of the State Governments, so far 34 CAs have been appointed (list of CAs may be seen at this website)