PM’s address at G20 Culture Ministers’ Meeting

 Welcome to Varanasi, also known as Kashi. I am delighted that you are meeting in Varanasi, which happens to be my Parliamentary Constituency. Kashi is not just the world's oldest living city. Not far from here is Sarnath, where Lord Buddha delivered his first sermon. Kashi is said to be the city of ‘'सुज्ञान, धर्म, और सत्यराशि'’ - a treasure chest of knowledge, duty, and truth. It is indeed the cultural and spiritual capital of India. I hope you have kept some time in your program to watch the Ganga Aarti, to visit Sarnath, and sample the delicacies of Kashi.


Culture has an inherent potential to unite. It enables us to understand diverse backgrounds and perspectives. And therefore, your work holds immense significance for entire humanity. We in India are very proud of our eternal and diverse culture. We also attach great value to our Intangible Cultural Heritage. We have been working hard to preserve and revitalize our heritage sites. We have mapped our cultural assets and artists, not just at the national level, but also at the level of all villages in India. We are also building several centers to celebrate our culture. Prime among them are the tribal museums in different parts of the country. These museums will showcase the vibrant culture of India's tribal communities. In New Delhi, we have the Prime Ministers’ Museum. This is a one of its kind effort which showcases India's democratic heritage. We are also building the ‘Yuge Yugeen Bharat’ National Museum. Once completed, it will stand as the world's largest museum. It will showcase India's history and culture spanning over 5000 years.


The issue of restitution of cultural property is an important one. And, I welcome your efforts in this regard. After all, tangible heritage is not only of material value. It is also the history and identity of a nation. Everyone has the right to access and enjoy their cultural heritage. Since 2014, India has brought back hundreds of such artefacts that showcase the glory of our ancient civilization. I also commend your efforts towards ‘living heritage’ as well as your contributions to ‘Culture for LiFE’. After all, cultural heritage is not just what is cast in stone. It is also the traditions, customs and festivals that are handed down the generations. I am confident that your efforts will foster sustainable practices and lifestyles.


We believe that heritage is a vital asset for economic growth and diversification. This is echoed in our mantra, ‘Vikas Bhi Virasat Bhi’- Development as well as Heritage. India takes pride in its 2,000 years old craft heritage, with nearly 3,000 unique arts and crafts. Our ‘One District, One Product’ initiative showcases the uniqueness of Indian crafts, while fostering self-reliance. Your efforts towards promoting Cultural and Creative Industries hold profound significance. These will facilitate inclusive economic development, and support creativity and innovation. In the coming month, India is going to roll out the PM Vishwakarma Yojana. With an initial outlay of one point eight billion dollars, it will create an eco-system of support for traditional artisans. It will enable them to flourish in their crafts and contribute to the preservation of India's rich cultural heritage.


Technology is an important ally in celebrating culture. In India, we have a National Digital District Repository. It is helping to re-discover the stories of our freedom struggle. We are using technology to ensure better preservation of our cultural landmarks. We are also using technology to make our cultural places more tourist friendly.


I am glad that your group has launched the ‘Culture Unites All’ campaign. It encapsulates the spirit of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam - One Earth, One Family, One Future. I also commend the pivotal role you are playing to shape a G20 Action Plan with tangible outcomes. Your work reflects the importance of the four Cs - Culture, Creativity, Commerce and Collaboration. It will enable us to harness the power of culture to build a compassionate, inclusive and peaceful future. I wish you all a very productive and successful meeting.

Thank You!


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