The Ministry of Culture is planning a special force that will guard historical and protected monuments across the country.
Following an announcement in this regard in Parliament by Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) Mahesh Sharma, a ministry official told IBTimes India the force has been given a three-pronged mandate: Cleanliness, security and hospitality.
The force will also protect prominent art installations.
At present, cultural assets are provided security by regular watch and ward staff, Home Guards, CISF and private security guards, said an official statement released by the ministry.
The official, on condition of anonymity, said the force would be deployed within the a year at specific monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for their cultural and tourist significance.
"Because the force is still in the planning phase, the number of people needed for it is still being determined," said the official, adding that it would depend on the number of footfalls at every destination, and the monuments' significance.
"And although we are calling them a 'force', they will act more like tourist mitras (friends)," he told IBTimes India. "This means, they would be responsible for helping any and all tourist that comes to the monument where they are deployed."
This will entail an entirely fresh training module for them, which will include teaching them how to deal with even foreign tourists, or tourists with special needs.
"They will also be trained to mane the tourism helpline of 1363," said the Culture Ministry official. It will be part of the hospitality mandate of the force.
On the cleanliness part, the force will not only look out for acts of vandalism but also help keep the premises free of garbage.
The ministry is also planning a comprehensive security policy for these monuments and art installations, and this special force is part of that move.