The Government has digitised over 11 lakh ancient documents and manuscripts available with the National Archives of India (NAI) and is preparing to digitise another 11 lakh historic records, the Lok Sabha was informed today.
As of 31 January this year, more than Rs 25 lakh has been spent on digitisation of the archives, Minister of State for Culture Mahesh Sharma said during Question Hour.
“The National Archives of India (NAI) has completed digitisation of 5,30,048 pages of public records and 2,82,750 pages of private papers collection. A project for digitising another 11 lakh pages has been taken up,” Sharma said during Question Hour.
NAI has also completed the digitisation of 484 manuscripts consisting of “1,06,974 pages, 42 newspapers and printed books consisting of 10,346 pages and 1,87,878 documents consisting of 6,13,413 pages of its oriental/public records collection”.
Apart from these documents, the Minister said 41 non-priced publications of NAI have also been digitised.
Emphasising that the government was concerned about old documents and manuscripts being destroyed, he said efforts would be made to ensure their safety and preserve them.
He was responding to a query about instances where letters of Mahatma Gandhi and Dadabhai Naoroji were found rotting away.
Noting that some documents were in good shape, Sharma said the government would work towards ensuring the safety of manuscripts and old documents.
The government would look at further strengthening Public Records Act, he said and added that “digitisation is a long process”.
Till end of January, more than Rs 25.7 lakh has been spent on digitisation. In 2012-13, the expenditure stood at over Rs 36.47 lakh which had come down to little over Rs 5.79 lakh in 2013-14.
“Digitisation will save the time, energy and expenses and improve the access of scholars, historians, academicians and other users of archives who may retrieve and access the archives electronically,” Sharma said.
To a query, Sharma said no proposal was under the Ministry’s consideration to collaborate with foreign nations as part of efforts to preserve and digitise old documents.
There were some proposals but the Ministry did not take it up due to issues of national importance, he noted.
“Process of choice for preserving the documents would be digitisation rather than using micro films,” Sharma said.