Monday, February 28, 2011

Kumari Selja Welcomes the Exemption of Customs Duty for Antiquities and Works of Art that are Brought Back to Country

In his budget speech today, the Finance Minister announced the expansion of the scope of exemption from custom duty for antiquities and works of art that are brought back to the country, for exhibition or display in private museums or galleries of similar premises that are open to general public. Kumari Selja, Minister of Culture, welcomed this concession given by the Finance Minister and stated that this will encourage more and more private, corporate and philanthropic organizations and individuals, to promote and popularize Indian art. She expressed optimism that this measure will help the fields of traditional arts as well as contemporary art in their endeavours.

Kumari Selja also welcomed an International Award, with prize money of Rs. 1 crore, for promoting values of universal brotherhood that is to be instituted in memory of Gurudev Rabindra Nath Tagore, as part of National Celebrations of his 150th Anniversary. The celebrations will commence from 7 May 2011 in New Delhi and a number of important events are slated to be held in several countries in Europe, America and Asia.

Following are the excerpts of the Finance Minister’s Budget Speech relating to culture:

“103. National celebrations of 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore will commence from May 7, 2011 in New Delhi. Important events will be held in several countries in Europe, America and Asia. A series of events are also proposed to be organized under the aegis of joint India-Bangladesh Celebrations Committee. An international award with prize money of Rs.1 crore is being instituted for promoting values of Universal Brotherhood in the memory of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.”

“177. Works of art and antiquities are exempt from customs duties when imported for exhibition in a public museum or national institution. In recent years, many organisations have joined the cause of promoting and popularizing both traditional and contemporary art. Some of them have been active in locating heritage works of Indian art and antiquities in foreign countries and bringing them back home. To encourage such initiatives, I propose to expand the scope of this exemption for works of art and antiquities to also apply to imports for exhibition or display, in private art galleries or similar premises that are open to the general public. Department of Culture will notify details of the scheme separately.”

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