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Report of the Secretaries Committee on New Delhi visit 


Minutes of the visit of Secretaries Committee to National Archives New Delhi and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library New Delhi on 12-4-2018.

 1. Setting up of AP State Archives

  •    A government department should be created. No statutory body is required.

  •    Department should be run by professionals/ experts and not generalists.

  •    Form an Archival Advisory Board.

2. Policy, and Enactment of State Act and Rules

  •  Purpose of archives is to store records for perpetuity and share them to researchers.

  •  Archives advises departments on storage, retention schedule and trains staff.

  •  Current GoI law says that after 25 years public records move to archives. For electronic records 20 year period is followed.   Finalise the embargo period also.   After 25 years, a team from Archives goes to the Secretariat and conducts an appraisal.  The record which as archival value is taken to archives. The appraisal looks for the following values before selecting a record to be moved to archives:

(i)  Historical value

(ii) Research value

(iii) Administrative value

(iv)Sentimental value

  • Non-classified records only come to Archives.  Security classified records stay with the Central Record Branch of Secretariat. Foreigners also are given access to archives provided introduction is given.

  • Prepare ‘Retention policy’, ‘e-records retention policy’ and ‘Access policy’ for the state.

  • The following is the average life of different methods of storage.

(i)   Micro film – 500 years

(ii)  Preserved paper – 200 years

(iii) Digital records – Less than 20 years

  • Enact a State Act and Rules which have provisions to be followed by all departments.

  • While preparing the Act, keep in view the provisions of IT Act 2000, RTI Act 2005, Public Record Rules of GoI 1997, Secretariat Office Manual of the State, e-Office manual for born electronic records, e-repository guidelines 2013 of DARPG GoI, Acts and rules on public records of GoI.

3. Infrastructure and building facility

  • Construct a building with modern technology as per International Council of Archives standards (https://www.ica.org/en) and BIS standards.

  • In phase 1, create infrastructure for storing next 100 year records.

  • Site location:

While selecting site, consider the climactic conditions and safety from natural calamities.

Archives buildings are located within close proximity to the new Secretariat in all countries (ex. New Delhi, London etc.). Locate the building near to the new Secretariat.

Allocate the required land near the secretariat building keeping in view future storage requirements.

  • Broad Requirements. Building must have space for the following.

(i)            Reprography unit.  It should have the following sections in an industrial plant layout style open space on ground floor. The ground floor should be above the maximum flood level at the location.

 (a)  Preservation section:  This section consists of Reception space and Conservation space.

 (b)  Digitalisation section:  The preservation space is followed by digitalisation section.  This will have large digitisation machines capable of scanning even large maps.

 (c)  Microfilming section: This section consists of micro-filming machines.

 (d)  Micro-film storage section

 (e)  Storage section for records with compactors

 (f)   Data centre

(ii)         Seminar/ Conference/ Workshop halls for collaboration between researchers.

(iii)        Library and Research centre. This centre is the public face of Archives and is open to all.  Researchers will use this space.

  • Requirements.    Firstly,  call  for  an  RFP  and  engage  an  agency  to  draw  up  the  archival requirements for the next 50 years.   The agency should provide services of three types of experts viz., administrative expert – say a retired secretary, archival expert and historian.

  • Detailed Designs and drawings.  Secondly, based on the requirements, engage an architectural firm to prepare the concept designs, detailed designs, drawings and bill of quantities (based on schedule of rates or market analysis) for the new building.   The agency should provide the services of architect and engineers.   The building should be as per the architectural design guidelines specified by the city.

  • Construction.   Based on the detailed designs and drawings, engage a contractor to do the construction.

4. Staffing

  • The department should be manned only by experts as the nature of the job is technical.

  • In the Service Rules, the required technical qualifications should be included. No generic qualifications should be there.

  • All the required positions should be drawn up initially and sanction obtained.  National Archives New Delhi has a staff of about 450 with an annual budget of Rs. 40 Cr.

  • Create separate wings for Conservation, Training (School of Archival studies), Digitalisation, Private archives.  The in-house technical staff should man these wings.

5. Born digital records

  • Dedicated data centre with required storage should be maintained.

  • A Disaster Recovery data centre should also be maintained.

  • Digital records have the shortest life. Electronic storage gets outdated every few years due to changes in technology. There are three options to archive electronic records

(i)          Continuously migrate the digital records to new technology and store.

(ii)         Take a print on paper and preserve.

(iii)        Convert the digital record to micro-film and store.

  • In India, professional services are not yet available in this regard.   It  is advised that the committee may visit Australia or UK which are handling digital records since a long time.

6. Visits

  •     The experts at National Archives and Nehru Memorial advised the committee to visit the following:

Visit the archival centres of TATA in Pune and RBI in Pune which are supposed to be the best in India

 For understanding the state of the art in archival visit Australia, UK and Vietnam.

  • The committee scheduled the visit to Pune in May.  The committee suggested that proposal may be placed before Government for permitting the committee to visit National Archives of Australia.  After permission from Government is obtained, the visit may be scheduled after three months.                                                                                                                                   --xxx--