Navigation

Working_draft_report_of_the_Secretaries_Committee

A.P. State Archival Policy-2018


1. Meaning & importance

Archives means is an accumulation of historical records in a physical place/electronic mode where they are located.  Archives are the documents that have accumulated over the course of an organisations life time, and or kept to show the function of that organisation.

The preservation of written information is an age-old human activity done not for the benefit of posterity, but to serve rulers, governments, and administrations.  Such records were usually preserved in strict secrecy and under close supervision. Archives ensure that the records of today are preserved for future generations.  People can then use the records to study and understand the life, ideas and thoughts of their original creators, linking the past, present and future.  Archival data consists of both the older data that is still important to the organization and may be needed for future reference, as well as data that must be retained for regulatory compliance.

 

2. History - AP State Archives

After the formation of erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh on 1st October, 1953, all the records of the Telugu speaking districts of the erstwhile Madras State were transferred to the newly created Andhra Record Office at Kurnool, the then capital of the Andhra State.  When Andhra Pradesh was formed on 1st November, 1956, the Andhra Office merged with the Central Record Office Hyderabad on 1st May, 1957 and all the Records which were preserved in Kurnool were transferred to the Central Record Office, Hyderabad.

The Central Record Office was reorganized as A.P. State Archives on the pattern of National Archives of India in 1962 under the Third Five Year plan (1961-1966).  Originally the A.P.State Archives was a department.  Later  it was recognised as Research Institute by Osmania University in 1992.  Now, the integrated name of this Archives is known as “Andhra Pradesh State Archives and Research Institute” under the Department of Higher Education.

In the year 1997, the Government in Education Department have approved the Archival Policy Resolution in respect of records of Andhra Pradesh which is still in force.  Except that no comprehensive Archival Act, Rules or statutory orders exist in the state to govern the matter of maintenance and management of public records.

 

3. Vision and Objectives

The vision of Archives of Andhra Pradesh is to preserve and manage public records of importance for perpetuity and share them with the researchers and public.

The objectives of this archival policy are,

-to laydown the institutional framework for state archives,

-to suggest the legislative framework,

-to ensure that right environment is created for the correct preservation and management of archives,

-to bring in accountability in the preservation of the organizations collective memory, 

-to facilitate an ongoing programme of records management and archival training for management, staff, and archives professionals, and

-to promote cost effective, efficient and reliable archives management within government organizations. 

In view of the changed scenario in usage of records, Right to Information Act,  and changes in technology in preserving and maintaining records, it is necessary to lay down the norms about the responsibilities of various  record  creating organisations and also the State Archives in respect of custody, management and usage of the Public Records.

 

4. Scope

-To define and regulate the responsibilities of the  Departments of   the Secretariat and all other offices of the State Government for custody, care and management and periodical appraisal of records in their possession.

-Selection of records of permanent value.

-Elimination of ephemeral records.

-Orderly and systematic transfers of records of permanent value to the State Archives.   

-To lay down the responsibilities of A.P State Archives in respect of Public Records in its custody and also in respect of those in the custody of the Departments of the Secretariat and others offices.

-To prescribe the limits and conditions governing access to the records retired  to the State Archives - electronic and paper documents - both being bound by the policy and subject to the same degree of confidentiality and care.

 

5. Offices covered

a) All the Departments of the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat, all Heads of Departments, and all sub-ordinate offices attached to them;

b) All Committees and Commissions set up by the Government of A.P.;

c) Chief Minister's, Deputy C.M's, Minister's Offices;

d) District Administration (Collectorates and State Government offices at district level);

e) Rural Local Bodies (Z.Ps, Mandal and Village Level Offices etc.);

f) Urban Local Bodies (Municipalities, Corporations, Urban Development Authorities);

g) State Public Sector Undertakings;

h) Andhra Pradesh Public Service Commission; and

i) Such of the attached and subordinate offices, offices of Departments as may be determined from time to time.

 

6. Limitation

It would be open to any other organisations not covered under the above categories (like High Court of Andhra Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council etc.,) to seek the assistance of the Andhra Pradesh state Archives in any matter coming within the scope of this Archival Policy and to retire their non-current records of permanent value to Andhra Pradesh State Archives, if they so desire, at any time.

 

7. Definitions

"Archives" means an accumulation of historical records or the physical place / electronic mode where they are located.  archives contained primary source of documents that have accumulated over the course of an organisations life-time, and or kept to show the function of that organisation;

"Information System" means organised collection of records, hardware, software, supplies, procedures and people which store, process and provide access to information;

"Preservation" means process and operation used in ensuring that technical and intellectual survival of authentic records overtime;

“Public Records’’ means any document, manuscript and file; any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document; any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not); and any other material produced by a computer or by any other device, of any records creating agency;

“Record management” means the efficient and systematic control of the creation, receipt, maintenance, use and dispersion of record including processes for capturing and maintaining evidence of and information about business activities and transactions in the form of records;

“Records Creating Agency” includes, in relation to the State Government, any Ministry, Department or Office of that Government; in relation to any statutory body or corporation wholly or substantially controlled or  financed by the State Government or Commission or any Committee constituted by that Government, the offices of the said Body, Corporation, Commission or Committee;

All active files will be treated as ‘current’ and those files which have become less active for the disposal of day to day work will be treated as ‘Semi-Current’ and all recorded files which are no longer needed for administrative work will be treated as “non-current”.

 

8. Organisational Set-up

(i)     State Archives of Andhra Pradesh

There shall be a Government department by the name of the State Archives of Andhra Pradesh. 

It will, 

(a) be the official archives, publisher and  custodian of the records of enduring value of the Government of Andhra Pradesh;

(b) advise the Government in information and records management;

(c) be a cultural, academic and heritage institution;

(d) provide a leadership role in the archives sector; and

(e) work to secure the future of physical and digital records.

As a higher state authority, the State Archives of Andhra Pradesh will fall under the Department of Youth Advancement, Tourism and Culture or the General Administration Department. 

The Chief Executive Officer, shall be the head of the department.

 

(ii)  Chief Executive Officer

(a) There shall be a Chief Executive Officer for the State Archives of Andhra Pradesh, who shall be a person appointed or engaged under the general powers vested with the Government.

(c) The Chief Executive Officer, in addition to exercising powers or performing duties expressly conferred or imposed on him or her by this Act, may, in the name of the Archives, exercise any powers and perform any duties that are by this Act expressed to be conferred or imposed on the Archives.

(C) The Minister may give directions, not inconsistent with this Act, to the Chief Executive Officer in relation to the exercise of his or her powers, and the performance of his or her duties, under this Act.

(D) The Chief Executive Officer may, either generally or as otherwise provided by the instrument of delegation, by writing under his or her hand, delegate to a person all or any of his or her powers under this Act, other than this power of delegation.

(E) A power so delegated, when exercised by the delegate, shall, for the purposes of this Act, be deemed to have been exercised by the Chief Executive Officer.

(F) The Chief Executive Officer shall have the power to lay down norms and standards for courses curricula, assessment and examinations relating to the training in archival science and other ancillary subjects.

(iii) Functions of Chief Executive Officer

(G) The Chief Executive Officer or the head of the Archives, as the case may be, subject to such conditions as may be specified in the order, to carry out all or any of the following functions, namely:

(aa)         supervision, management and control of the Archives.

(bb)         acceptance for deposit of public records of permanent nature after such period as may be prescribed; 

(cc)         custody, use and withdrawal of public records; 

(dd)        arrangement, preservation and exhibition of public records; 

(ee)        preparation of inventories, indices, catalogues and other reference media of public records; 

(ff)          analysing, developing, promoting and coordinating the standards, procedures and the techniques for improvement of the records management system 

(gg)        ensuring the maintenance, arrangement and security of public records in the Archives and in the offices of the records creating agency; 

(hh)        promoting utilisation of available space and maintenance of equipments for preserving public records; 

(ii)           tendering advice to records creating agencies on the compilation, classification and disposal of records and application of standards, procedures and techniques of records management; 

(jj)          survey and inspection of public records; 

(kk)          organising training programmes in various disciplines of Archives administration and records management; 

(ll)           accepting records from any private source; 

(mm)       regulating access to public records; 

(nn)        receiving records from defunct bodies and making arrangement for securing public records in the event of national emergency; 

(oo)        receiving reports on records management and disposal practices from the records officer;

(pp)        providing authenticated copies of, or extracts from, public records; 

(qq)         destroying or disposal of public records; 

  (rr)         obtaining on lease or purchasing or accepting as gift any   document of historical or national importance. 

 

 (iv)   Wings under the Chief Executive Officer

(a)      Assistant CEO - Access & Public engagement, Declassification Unit, Public Programmes, Reference Services;

(b)      Assistant CEO - Collection Management, operations and preservation.

(c)      Assistant CEO - Corporate Services, Corporate governance, Finance and procurement, people management and development, preservation and storage construction, property and security;

(d)      Assistant CEO -  General, Information & Technology, Applications and Operations, Business Engagement, Information Governance and infrastructure.

(e)      One Executive Officer, Executive Assistant and Executive Support Officer shall be the Office team of the Chief Executive Officer.

 

9. Advisory Bodies

(i)  Archival Advisory Council

It has been proposed to create "A.P. State Archival Advisory Council" by a separate enactment.  The "Council may advise the Government and as well as CEO on matters relevant to the archive functions.  The CEO may refer such matters to the Council for advice or the Council may offer advice of its own accord. 

The proposed "A.P. State Archival Advisory Council" headed by the concerned Hon'ble Minister and other Members as prescribed by the Government and out of that one member each  from the APLA and APLC chosen by the House and other members ( subject experts) as appointed by the concerned Minister.

8(v)           Archival Advisory Board

      The Government may constitute Archival Advisory Board.  The Archival Advisory Board shall consist of the following members:

(i)  Secretary to Government, YAT & C Department  .. Ex-Officio Chairman

(ii)      One Officer not below the rank of the Assistant Secretary to Government each from the GAD, Home, Finance, Revenue and Law Departments; - Members-Ex-officio.

(iii)     (3) persons to be nominated by the state Government for a period not exceeding (3) years.  One being an archivist and two being professors in PG Department of History in any recognized University;

(iv)     Chief Executive Officer - Member Secretary, Ex-offcio. 

 

8(vi)          Functions of Archival Advisory Board

      a) advise the State Government on matters concerning the administration, management, conservation and use of public records;

      b) lay down guidelines for training of Archivists;

      c) give directions for acquisition of records from private custody; 

     (d)    deal with such other matters as may be prescribed.

 

9. Central Records Branch (CRB) 

The Central Records Branch of the Secretariat shall co-ordinate with the Andhra Pradesh State Archives for arranging periodical inspection, appraisal and weeding of their Departmental records and also provide required space for the records to be transferred from Central Records branch to Interim repository of Andhra Pradesh State Archives.

 

10. Departmental Records Room

        The Departmental Head must be familiar with this policy and educate their Department in this regard and also nominate one officer for record rooms.

      a)  The Head of the Departments shall co-ordinate with the Andhra Pradesh State Archives for arranging periodical inspection, appraisal and weeding of their Departmental records. 

      b) The Departmental Record Room holding semi-current records of the each Department and public office should be placed in the charge of properly trained, suitable and Responsible Full-time staff.

       c) Suitable training and re-orientation programmes should be organised by the Andhra Pradesh State Archives Department for the staff in-charge of the records rooms of the Departments of the Andhra Pradesh Secretariat and of the sub-ordinate offices to enable efficient discharge of the duties entrusted to them.

 

11. Role of Departmental Record Officer

           Every records creating agency shall nominate one of its officers as records officer to discharge the functions under this Act. Every records creating agency may set up such number of record rooms in such places as it deems fit and shall place each record room under the charge of a records officer.

(1)  The records officer shall be responsible for -

(a)   proper arrangement, maintenance and preservation of public records under his charge; 

(b)  periodical review of all public records and weeding out public records of ephemeral value;

(c)    appraisal of public records which are more than ..........................(twenty-five) years old in consultation with the State Archives of Andhra Pradesh with a view to retaining public records of permanent value;

(d)    destruction of public records in such manner and subject to such   conditions as may be prescribed;

(e)    compilation of a schedule of retention for public records in consultation with the National Archives of India.

(f)    periodical review for downgrading of classified public records in such manner as may be prescribed;

(g)   adoption of such standards, procedures and techniques as may be recommended from time to time by the State Archives of Andhra Pradesh for improvement of record management system and maintenance of security of public records;

(h)    compilation of annual indices of public records;

(i)     compilation of organisational history and annual supplement thereto;

(j)     assisting the State Archives of Andhra Pradesh for public records management;

(k)    submission of annual report to the Chief Executive officer or, as the case may be, head of the Archives in such manner as may be prescribed;

(l)    transferring of records of any defunct body to the State Archives of Andhra Pradesh for preservation.

 

(2)  The records officer shall act under the direction of the Chief Executive Officer  or, as the case may be, head of the Archives while discharging the responsibilities specified in this policy;

(3)    The Records officer to take appropriate action in the event of  unauthorised removal, destruction,  etc., of public records in his custody.

(4)    The Records Officer shall, in the event of any unauthorised removal destruction, defacement or alteration of any public records under his charge, forthwith take appropriate action for the recovery or rest oration of such public records.

(5)    The records officer shall submit a report in writing to the Chief Executive Officer  or as the case may be the head of the Archives without any delay on any information about any unauthorised removal, destruction, defacement or alteration of any public records under his charge and about the action initiated by him and shall take action as he may deem necessary subject to the directions, if any, given by the Chief Executive Officer or, as the case may be, head of the Archives.

(6)    The Records Officer may seek assistance from any Government Officer or any other person for the purpose of recovery or restoration of public records and such officer or person shall render all assistance to the Records Officer.

 

12. Power of the State Archives

12.1  Destruction or disposal of public records.

            Breaches of this policy may have serious legal and reputation repercussions and could cause record damage to the Organisations / Department.

(a)      Save as otherwise provided in any law for the time being in force, no public record shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed of except in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed;

(b)      No record created before the year ...............(say 1923 as the records brought from Madars to Kurnool though shifted in the year 1953) shall be destroyed except where in the opinion of the Chief Executive Officer  or, as the case may be, the head of the Archives, it is so defaced or is in such condition  that it cannot be put to any archival use. 

(c)      Prohibition against taking of public records out of India / Andhra Pradesh; No person shall take or cause to be taken out of Andhra Pradesh/India any public records without the prior approval of the State Government.

(d)      No records more than hundred years old  should be destroyed.  No pre-independence Rector is should be destroyed without consulting the Andhra Pradesh State Archives Department.

 

12.2  Penalty for contraventions

            Whoever contravenes any of the provisions of this policy shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ___ (say 5 years) or with  fine of Rs._____ (say Rs.10,000 /-) which may extent to _______ or with both.

 

13. Retention schedule

          Every Department shall be responsible for enforcing the retention, archiving and destruction/records and communicating this periods to the relevant record sections.   Every employee shall be responsible for returning files/records in their possession.

Retention Schedules, indicating the period for which particulars of classes or categories of records should be preserved shall be drawn up by the officer in charge of the Departmental Records for all categories of records not covered by the office manuals of concerned office procedure in consultation with the Andhra Pradesh State Archives and should be get approved by the concerned Department/office. The schedule should be revised once in five years to ensure that adequate notice is being taken of the changing and expanding activities of the Department/office.

 

14. Weeding and preservation of historical records:

To ensure that no records of possible historical and research interest are destroyed by the department/office after they cease to be of administrative use; the department/offices should associate the Andhra Pradesh State Archives with the process of Weeding of records. The Chief Executive Officer, of Andhra Pradesh State Archives should co-ordinate and guide all operations connected with the public records in respect of their administration, preservation and elimination so as to ensure that records of permanent value or not destroyed but or transferred to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives at the appropriate time. The Chief Executive Officer of Andhra Pradesh State Archives shall arrange periodical inspection of Record Rooms of all Government Department which come under the purview of this resolution and evaluate   the permanent records to be transferred to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives.

 

15. Technology

15.1  Preventive conservation:

          Preventive conservation is the creation of an environment in which the factors detrimental to the archival materials cannot exist. The control of proper environment, shelving and handling practices etc. are the basic requirements that are needed as preventive conservation measures of archival materials.

          The record of various Departments etc of Government of Andhra Pradesh and, the permanent records are shifted to State Archives of Andhra Pradesh after a period of 25 years. The documents are cleaned using an Air compressor attached to an Air cleaning Unit to remove the dust. Thereafter, the fumigation of the records is carried out with the help of a vacuum fumigation chamber using carbon-di-oxide to get rid of any insects that might be present in the records. The documents are shifted to the Repositories after undertaking these two processes. Fumigation of the records is also carried out using portable fumigation chambers with the help of chemicals such as Thymol and Para dichloro benzene etc. The Preservation Division of State Archives of Andhra Pradesh thus ensures the removal of dust and pests as a preliminary step before the records are shifted to the Stack areas.

15.2    Curative conservation

The curative aspect of conservation of records involves the treatment of brittle, fragile and acidic records of permanent value so as to minimize and mitigate the deterioration of the documentary heritage stored in this department using a process called de-acidification. The process involves the use of alkaline chemicals such as calcium hydroxide and calcium bicarbonate to remove the acidity present in the documents. This is called aqueous de-acidification technique and is widely used in National Archives of India to remove acidity and to strengthen the records so that the documents of historical value are preserved for posterity. The documents which are written on water soluble inks are de-acidified using a non-aqueous method.

15.3    Restorative conservation

   The records which require repair and rehabilitation can be classified into two categories: those records which are received in a dilapidated condition and require minor repairing and those which might have been spoilt due to exposure to un-favourable climatic conditions and are brittle and fragile requiring major repair and need immediate attention. State Archives of Andhra Pradesh has a wide range of repair techniques and the type of repair can be chosen as per the condition of the records. Some of the restorative aspect of conservation includes tissue repairing, full pasting, lamination, docketing and binding etc.

The nature or restorative conservation which is used to restore a document depend on the physical condition of the record and all the above mentioned process which are being carried out in State Archives of Andhra Pradesh follow high standard of quality and the preservative materials used to undertake these process are chosen as per archival specifications prescribed for each and every material.

15.4    Conservation Research Laboratory

The Government of Andhra Pradesh have to establsih a conservation Research Laboratory  which is engaged in research and development work like developing indigenous technique for restoration, quality check of all the materials by examining physical and chemical properties of all preservative and storage materials. The Laboratory is equipped with latest models of Paper Testing Machines viz. Tensile Tester, Folding Endurance Tester and Bursting Endurance Tester etc., to facilitate examination of various kinds of preservative material.

 

16. Storage & Security

          The record should be stored in conditions that are secure and clean with low rise of damage.  Records of non paper format shall require special storage conditions and handling process, after taking into account their specific character. 

Similarly, records of continuing valve  and requiring longer preservation shall  require higher quality of storage.

The physical security of the records is primarily dependent on the storage environment, handling, servicing of the material and steps adopted to safeguard them against fire hazards, floods, other natural disasters, etc. The stack area of State Archives of Andhra Pradesh is located in the main and Annexe building and nature of records are categorized as Public Records, Cartographic records, Departmental records, Private papers, Oriental records. The records are stored in ideal storage environment and round the clock operation of air-conditioning is provided to maintain the temperature and relative humidity within the optimum range that is suitable for the records.

The records which are in the form of files, books, volumes, rare manuscripts, maps, and treaties are stored as per archival standards in steel shelves, carton boxes, ply boards and compactor system. The stack area is provided with state of the art fire prevention and fire fighting system.  

 

17. Reprographic Services

            The State Archives of Andhra Pradesh is committed to ensure longevity of documents in its custody through an elaborate "Security Microfilming Programme" which is being practiced by the State Archives of Andhra Pradesh. Microfilming is being used as a measure for preservation of records under disaster management against deterioration from use or loss due to natural calamity or man made sabotage and natural ageing and fading of inks.

The Reprography Division is equipped with modern machines which not only attends to the needs of scholars apart from its normal functioning but is also engaged in the task of preparing security microfilms of valuable records as a precautionary measure against loss by fire, flood, war and sabotage.

The Division is also converting the analog microfilm images into digital images to incorporate the same with the specially tailored Archival Information Management System Software.

 

18. Computerization and Digitalization

A computerization and digitalization programme is to be launched by the Government that the State Archives of Andhra Pradesh able to develop its own digital preservation capabilities in fulfillment of the mandate of the  Public Records Act of 1993 and to take care of the electronic Archives being generated in various Ministries / Departments of the Government of Andhra Pradesh electronically in a big way.

 

19. Finance

  The Government of Andhra Pradesh shall provide Budget to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives and through the services, the   Andhra Pradesh State Archives have get income. Allowances paid to the Members of the State Archival Board and State Archival Council as per rules existed in the Government of Andhra Pradesh.

 

20. Consultancy

  The Chief Executive Officer of State Archives of Andhra Pradesh will tender such and render such assistance as may be possible to offices and Institutions falling outside the scope of this resolution in respect of technical problems bearing on record management. A consultancy cell may under the aegis of the Chief Executive Officer of State Archives of Andhra Pradesh may be set up for the purpose.

 

21. Transfer of Records to State Archives of A.P.

All de-classified records and files selected for preservation should be transferred to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives 5 years/10 years after being closed, as laid down in Secretariat Office Manual (SOM) and Departmental Office Manual (DOM) subject to the following limitations.

a) Classified files and files bearing any security classification should not be transferred to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives/ or its Interim Repositories as and Regional Offices unless and until they are downgraded and declassified by the competent authority/creating agency.

b) The Chief Minister’s Secretariat, and the office of other Ministers may prescribe a period longer than 10 years for the transfer of their non-confidential records.

c) Any individual file or recorded series may be retained by a department or office beyond the stipulated period for any reason subject to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives, being appraised of the position.

d) Classification files remaining untransformed to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives at the end of the stipulated period should be appraised once in five years by the competent authority with a view to down grading and de-classifying them and the down graded files fir for permanent preservation should be transferred to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives.

e) File once transferred may be with drawn from the Andhra Pradesh State Archives by the Departments or Ofices concerned for a stipulated period, appraising the Andhra Pradesh State Archives of the reasons for taking such action.

f) The administrative departments of the Secretariat would have the authority to decide on the consigning of particular records of the attached and sub-ordinate offices to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives Department.

g) Return of files/records to Andhra Pradesh State Archives.

h) a Department/Offices may requisition from the Andhra Pradesh State Archives any individual file or records for its use whenever necessary.  The file or records so requisition shall be returned to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives within three months from the date of issue.

 

22. Amendment to the policy

            The Board shall review and amend this policy as and when require. Any subsequent amendment modifications in the policy and/ or other applicable laws in their regard shall automatically apply to their policy.

 

23. Annual Report

          The Chief Executive Officer of State Archives of Andhra Pradesh will submit a report to the Government every year on the management of public records with particular reference to the actual working of the record management system.

 

24. Access to Records

a) All the non-confidential public rector more than 30 years old transferred to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives will be open the bonafide research scholars subject to such rules framed by the department/office concerned in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer.

b) The Departments and other offices may, in consultation with the Andhra Pradesh State Archives grant special access to the records not transferred to the Andhra Pradesh State Archives.

 

25. Commercial services for income generation

  • Issue of certified  copies/extracts of Andhra Pradesh Government Gazette to public on requisition. 

  • Supply of information to private individuals  (foreign as well as inland) about  family details, such as death, birth, marriages, employment, service particulars, etc., if available from the archival records on application. 

  • Imparting training on Record Management and Conservation of Records for officials of private institutions besides those of  Government Departments. 

  • Grant of permission to bonafide Scholars for doing  research work.  (M.Phil, Ph.d.) 

  • Issue  of  photo copies of archival records to enrolled Research Scholars on payment. 

  • Collection of private records of archival value from the public as per Central and State Rules/Acts. 

  • Mending  of old records and books of private institutions and persons besides those of Government Departments. 

  • Sale of Archival Publications. 

  • Sale of District Gazetteers. 

  • Conduct of Endowment Lectures. 

  • Award of Research Fellowships through Andhra Pradesh Council of Historical Research. 

  • Admission of scholars for Ph.d., in Modern History. 

  • On payment of storage of records from other Departments. 

  • Online access to the archival records to the Researchers/Public.

 

 

A.P. Public Records Bill


 

An Act to regulate the management, administration and preservation of public records of the Central Government, Union Territory Administrations, public sector undertakings, statutory bodies and corporations, commissions and committees constituted by the Central Government or a Union Territory Administration and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

Be it enacted by Parliament in the Forty-fourth Year of the Republic of India as follows :-

  1. (1)This Act may be called the Public Records Act,

           (2) It shall come into force, on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint

  1. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, -

    a) "Board" means the Archival Advisory Board constituted under sub-section (1) of section 13;

    b) "Director General" means the Director General of Archives appointed by the Central Government and includes any officer authorized by that Government to perform the duties of the Director General

    c) "Head of the Archives" means a person holding the charge of the Archives of the Union Territory Administration;

    d) "prescribed" means prescribed by rules made under this Act;

    e) "public records" includes -

             i) any document, manuscript and file;

             ii) any microfilm, microfiche and facsimile copy of a document;

             iii) any reproduction of image or images embodied in such microfilm (whether enlarged or not); and

             iv) any other material produced by a computer or by any other device, of any records creating agency;

    f) "records creating agency" includes, -

            i) in relation to the Central Government, any ministry, department or office of that Government;

          ii) in relation to any statutory body or corporation wholly or substantially controlled or financed by the Central Government or commission or any committee constituted by that Government, the offices of the said body, corporation, commission or committee;

          iii) in relation to a Union Territory Administration, any department or office of that Administration;

       iv) in relation to any statutory body or corporation wholly or, substantially controlled or financed by Union territory Administration or commission or any committee constituted by that Government, the offices of the said body, corporation, commission or committee; 

     

    g) "records officer" means the officer nominated by the records creating agency under sub-section (1) of section

 

3. (1) The Central Government shall have the power to coordinate, regulate and supervise the operations connected with the administration, management, preservation, selection, disposal and retirement of public records under this Act.

     (2) The Central Government in relation to the public records of the records, creating agencies specified in sub- clauses (i) and (ii) of clause (f) of section 2 and the Union territory Administration in relation to the public records of the records creating agencies specified in sub-clauses (iii) and (iv) of the said clause, may, by order, authorize the Director General on the head of the Archives, as the case may be, subject to such conditions as may be specified in the order, to carry out all or any of the following function, namely :-

  1. supervision, management and control of the

  2. acceptance for deposit of public records of permanent, nature after such period as may be prescribed;

  3. custody, use and withdrawal of public records;

  4. arrangement, preservation and exhibition of public records;

  5. preparation of inventories, indices, catalogues and other reference media of public records;

  6. analyzing, developing, promoting and coordinating the standards, procedures and the techniques for improvement of the records management system

  7. ensuring the maintenance, arrangement and security of public records in the Archives and in the offices of the records creating agency;

  8. promoting utilization of available space and maintenance of equipments for preserving public records;

  9. tendering advice to records creating agencies on the compilation, classification and disposal of records and application of standards, procedures and techniques of records management;

  10. survey and inspection of public records;

  11. organizing training programmes in various disciplines of Archives administration and records management;

  12. accepting records from any private source;

  13. regulating access to public records;

  14. receiving records from delunet bodies and making arrangement for securing public records in the event of national emergency;

  15. receiving reports on records management and disposal practices from the records officer;

  16. providing authenticated copies of, or extracts from, public records;

  17. destroying or disposal of public records;

  18. obtaining on lease or purchasing or accepting as gift any document of historical or national importance.

 

4. No person shall take or cause to be taken out of India any public records without the prior approval of the Central Government;

Provided that no such prior approval shall be required if any public records are taken or sent out of India for any official purpose.

 

5.        (1) Every records creating agency shall nominate one of its officers as records officer to discharge the functions under this Act.

         (2) Every records creating agency may set up such number of record rooms in such places as it deems fit and shall place each record room under the charge of a records officer.

 

6. (1) The records officer shall be responsible for -

  proper arrangement, maintenance and preservation of public records under his charge;

 

  1. periodical review of all public records and weeding out public records of euphomeral value;

  2. appraisal of public records which are more than twenty-five years old in consultation with the National Archives of India or, as the case may be, the Archives of the Union territory with a view to retaining public records of permanent value;

  3. destruction of public records in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed under sub-section (1) of section 8;

  4. compilation of a schedule of retention for public records in consultation with the National Archives of India or, as the case may be, the Archives of the Union Territory;

  5. periodical review for downgrading of classified public records in such manner as may be prescribed;

  6. adoption of such standards, procedures and techniques as may be recommended from time to time by the National Archives of India for improvement of record management system and maintenance of security of public records;

  7. compilation of annual indices of public records;

  8. compilation of organizational history and annual supplement thereto;

  9. assisting the National Archives of India or, as the case may be, the Archives of the Union territory for public records management;

  10. submission of annual report to the Director General or, as the case may be head of the Archives in such manner as may be prescribed;

  11. transferring of records of any defunct body to the National Archives of India or the Archives of the 

 

(2) The records officer shall act under the direction of the Director General or, as the case may be, head of the Archives while discharging the responsibilities specified in sub-section (1).

 

7. (1) The records officer shall, in the event of any unauthorized removal, destruction, defacement or alteration of any public records under his charge, forthwith take appropriate action for the recovery or restoration of such public records.

(2) The records officer shall submit a report in writing to the Director General or as the case may be the head of the Archives without any delay on any information about any unauthorized removal, destruction, defacement or alteration of any public records under his charge and about the action initiated by him and shall take action as he may deem necessary subject to the directions, if any given by the Director General or, as the case may be, head of the

(3) The records officer may seek assistance from any government officer or any other person for the purpose of recovery or restoration of public records and such officer or person shall render all assistance to the records 

 

8. (1)  Save as otherwise provided in any law for the time being in force, no public record shall be destroyed or otherwise disposed of excepts in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be

    (2) No record created before the year 1892 shall be destroyed except where in the opinion of the Director General or, as the case may be, the head of the Archives, it is so defaced or is in such condition that it cannot be put to any archival use.

 

9. Whoever contravenes any of the provisions of section 4 or section 8 shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with

 

10. No public records bearing security classification shall be transferred to the National Archives of India or the Archives of the Union

 

11. (1) The National Archives of India or the Archives of the Union Territory may accept any record of historical or national importance from any private source by way of gift, purchase or

(2) The National Archives of India or, as the case may be, the Archives of any Union Territory may, in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed, make any record referred to in sub-section (1) available to any bona fide research scholar.

 

12. (1) All unclassified public records as are more than thirty years old and are transferred to the National Archives of India or the Archives of the Union Territory may be, subject to such exceptions and restrictions as may be prescribed made available to any bona fide research

 

Explanation :- For the purposes of this sub-section, the period of thirty years shall be reckoned from the year of the opening of the public record.

 

(2) Any records creating agency may grant to any person access to any public record in its custody in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed.

 

13. (1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, constitute an Archival Advisory Board for the purposes of this

  • The Board shall consist of the following members, namely :-

.     Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Central Government dealing with Culture

a) One officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India, each from the Cabinet Secretariat, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and

b) Two representatives not below the rank of Joint Secretary in the Union Territory Administrations to be nominated by the Central

c) Three persons to be nominated by the Central Government for a period not exceeding three years, one being an Archivist and two being Professors in the Post-graduate Department of History in any recognized

d) Director General of

e) The members nominated under clause (d) of sub-section (2) shall be paid such allowances as may be

 

14. The Board shall perform the following functions, namely :-

.     advise the Central Government and Union Territory Administrations on matters concerning the administration, management, conservation and use of public records;

a) lay down guidelines for training of Archivists;

b) give directions for acquisition of records from private custody;

c) deal with such other matters as may be

 

15. The Director General shall have the power to lay down norms and standards for courses curricula, assessment and examinations relating to the training in archival science and other ancillary

 

16. No suit, prosecution or other legal proceedings shall lie against any person in respect of anything which is in good faith done or intended to be done in pursuance of this Act or the rules made

 

17. (1) The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, makes rules to carry out the provisions of this

      (2) In particular and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for all or any of the following matters,

.     the period after which public records of permanent nature may be accepted under clause (b) of sub-section (2) of section 3;

 

  1. the manner in which and the conditions subject to which public records can be destroyed under clause (d) of sub-section (1) of section 6;

  2. the manner in which periodical review of classified public records for downgrading shall be undertaken under clause (F) of sub-section (1) of section 6;

  3. the manner in which the records officer will report to the Director General or the head of the Archives under clause (k) of sub section (l) of section 6;

  4. the manner in which and the conditions subject to which public records may be destroyed or disposed of under sub-section (l) of section 8;

  5. the manner in which and the conditions subject to which records of historical or national importance may be made available to research scholar under sub-section (2) of section 11;

  6. exceptions and restrictions subject to which public records may be made available to a research scholar under sub-section (1) of section 12;

  7. the manner in which and the conditions subject to which any records creating agency may grant to any person access to public records in its custody sub-section (2) of section 12;

  8. the allowances payable to members of the Board under sub-section (3) of section 13;

  9. the matters with respect to which the Board may perform its functions under clause (d) of section 14;

  10. any other matter which is required to be, or may be,

 

18. Every rule made under this Act shall be laid, as soon as may be after it is made, before each House of Parliament, while it is in session, for a total period of thirty days which may be comprised in one session or in two or more successive sessions, and if, before the expiry of the session immediately following the session or the successive sessions aforesaid, both Houses agree in making any modification in the rule or both Houses agree that the rule should not be made, the rule shall thereafter have effect only in such modified form or be of no effect, as the case may be; so, however, that any such modification or annulment shall be without prejudice to the validity of anything previously done under that

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Minimum Requirements for a Record Room


1. Introductory

Section 5(2) of the Public Record Act, 1993 stipulates “every record creating agency may set up such number of records room in such places as it deems fit and shall place each record room under the charge of a records officer”. The survey and inspection conducted by National Archives of India from time to time have revealed that the state of maintenance and preservation of record in various record creation agencies upkeep and longevity of the records.

  • the present note, therefore, marks out the basic requirements that are essential for safe housing of the simi-current and non-current record in the Records Rooms.

  • The salient features delineated below are primarily meant for those Records Rooms that are to be organized in the existing accommodation. While planning for the new office buildings providing for  an adequately well-equipped Record Room, the standards laid down by the Bureau of Indian Standards in “ IS 2663:1989 Design of buildings for archives – Recommendations relating to its primary elements (Second revision) Reaffirmed Feb. 2011) may be followed.

2. Record Room

2.1        A separate Records Room/stack Area is a vital necessity for all the Records creating Agencies. A Records Room should, as far as possible, be located on the ground floor of a building. If its windows open into the space outside or in the courtyards in the interior, they should be fitted with metal girls and wire mesh nets. To avoid splashing of rain-water in the room, rain shades should be provided at all their openings. For reasons of safety of records and security, it is advisable to permit limited entry into such rooms

2.2 The floor of a Records Room should be such as to permit easy movement of records.

2.3. Where accommodation and design so permits, the records-area, the record reference and the reception portion should be separate.

 

3. Drainage

3.1 While selecting the location of the Records Room, it may be ensured that no water pipes or drains pass near, above, or under the Records Room building. Further, in order to prevent any in flow of water in the Records Room due to blockage of drains or accidental damage to water pipes in the building, its floor level should be raised a few centimeters above the general level of the floors of the building.

 

4. Air-conditioning

4.1 Storage of records in an air-conditioned atmosphere is conductive to their longevity Air-conditioning is , therefore, essential for Records Rooms. In existing buildings, which do not have central air-conditioning, use of split type air-conditioner or window split type air-conditioner is recommended.

4.2 for effective air –conditioning, ventilation should be so planned as to permit minimum leakeage of the conditioned atmosphere. While calculating conditioning load, bulk of shelving equipment, archival material, the number of persons sitting in the Records Room, the bul of records moving in and  out, and the lighting wattage should be taken into account.

4.3 Humidity and temperature in conditioned Records Room should be measured regularly. The ambient conditions for storage of records are (i) temperature 22 degrees Centigrade – 25 degrees centigrade and (ii) relative humidity 45 plus or minus 55 %.

4.4 in o0rder to maintain proper humidity control in the conditioned area, it is necessary that permeation of dampness through the walls or floors  does not take place. The floor should be laid waterproof and the walls should be coated with waterproof oil paint.

4.5 while planning for the air-conditioning for the Records Rooms, it may be ensured that the air-conditioning plant has to provide round the clock air-conditioning all through the year. Such running of plant could lead to occasional service breakdown. Hence a provision for a stand by plant may also have to be made, lest such breakdowns create conditions while might lead to accelerated damage to records.

 

5. Non – conditioned Area

5.1 Keeping in view economy in resources, in may cases it may not be possible to get Records Room air-conditioned. In such a case step should be taken to provide proper circulation of air in the storage room by providing air – circulators, fans and exhaust fans to counteract the effect of high humidity, and prevent formation of pockets of stagnant air in the storage room. Use of chemicals , like Anhydrous, silica gel (self-indicating) or in enameled or glazed earthen pots, help to reduce humidity in the room. Mechanical dehumidifiers on also be used during rains to check the deleterious influence of excessively humid climate.

5.2 Temperature in Records Room can be kept within reasonable range by choosing such rooms that are located in the interiors or have a verandah around them. During summer, the Records Room should be fitted with air-circulators, electric fans and exhaust fans for proper circulation of air, so that high temperature can be brought down. Care should fitting either tinted glass-panes or heat resistant glass panes on the windows and by providing curtains.

 

6. Shelving

6.1 Shelving in Records Room should be such which is simple in design, durable, easy to clean, offering minimum protection to records against fire and ensuring maximum facility and convenience for servicing of records.

6.2 Shelves should be fixed away from the walls on upright fixers and at equi-distance throughout the  storage. Distance between successive shelf rows may be 0.7 m to 1.0 m or in accordance with the requirement laid down in “IS;2663-1989 OF Practice for the Basic Elements in the Design of Buildings for Archives”. Distance between successive rows (shelf height) and depth of shelves may depend on dimensions of records/files and the manner of keeping records series on them. A Perusal of the Indian standards referred to above will be helpful.

6.3 if steel shelving is provided in the records Rom, it should be painted rustproof. The paint should be stable and non-injurious to documents. Steel shelves may preferably be slotted for vertical free circulation of air. Where wooden shelves are provided, the wood should be protected against termite infestation. Sharp edges and corners in the shelves and supports which can result in physical damage to documents, should be rounded off.

6.4 Mobile storage systems, like Compact us shelving can also be installed in the records room which provides maximum amount of storage capacity. These can be fitted with a variety of accessories. To access stored information, the mobile shelving can be moved effortlessly using hand wheel and can be locked for extra protection. The advantage of such type of shelving Is that it is economical and space saving, it ensue=res good protection of the documentary wealth against dust and sunlight. Another advantage is that the stack area can be converted into a security area as the mode is lockable. But installation of such system increases load on the floor and therefore load bearing capacity of the building may be taken in to account before installation.

 

7. Storage

7.1 Collection in Records Room differ in bulk, size and shape and commonly consist of bound volumes, loose sheets, files, manuscripts, maps, chairs, plans & drawings etc. shelving arrangements required for specific materials need designing according to the nature, shape and bulk of the material. While designing these shelves, it may be ensured that neither these nor materials kept on them touch either the walls, ceilings or floor. The distance from wall, ceiling and floor should be at least 15 cm.

7.2 The records should be kept loosely packed on the shelves with sufficient space in between, so as to enable free circulation of air and to prevent formation of pockets of high humidity. Unbound records may either be tied between 2 pieces of 5 ply boards or kept in carton boxes made of quality material.

7.3 For proper servicing of records from upper shelves stepladders or platform type ladders may be used.

7.4 For safeguarding the records against damage fue to insect infestation, the Records Room should be sprayed with insecticide solutions beneath the shelved, behind the cabinets and also in corners etc. All cracks in the floor and walls should be filled up to equipment can be made. However, only those chemicals should be sprayed whose effect on the durability and permanency of paper and other record components has been properly studied.

7.5  In a non-conditioned area, use of preservatives like naphthalene in the form of balls tied in meshed cloth or bricks kept on shelves helps to keep the records safe from insects. The insecticide formulations like Flit and other related insecticides are effective.

7.6 Much damage to record is usually done by rodents. Whereas it is desirable to prevent their entry into the Records Room by using proper wire-mesh at the outlet drains, a few rat-traps should be kept handy for eliminating their menace in case of their entry in the Records Room. Neither eatables nor smoking, nor naked flame should be allowed in the storage area.

7.7. At the first sign of rise in humidity n the Records room preventive action should be initiated. Also, advice of institutions like the National Archives of India, New Delhi, should invariably be sought in case any insect infestation or fungus growth is noticed or detected.

7.8. In spite of dust-proof buildings and air-conditioning, dust does find its way to the stored materials, Regular dusting operation in the storage area with the help of a vacuum cleaner is, therefore, desirable to remove dust from the stored material. The Records Room itself should also be kept absolutely clean. Staff engaged in dusting should be provided with dust respirators. A cloth bag with surgical lining that can be changed occasionally, works as a satisfactory respirator.

 

8. Lighting

8.1 Good lighting with either natural or artificial light is necessary for every Records Room. Modern lighting practice is to provide defused lights of varying intensity for different rooms. Lighting can be improved by using paints that reflect light.

 

9. Fire Fighting Arrangements

9.1 To protect record against any accidental fire, all electric wiring should be through conduct pipes and the main control switches of lights etc. installed in the Storage area should be located outside the Records room. As far as possible the Records Rooms should be made fire resistant. In big Records rooms the storage space should be divided into separate fire resistant compartments.

Additional automatic dampers should be installed in the centrally air-conditioned areas so that ducts could be immediately closed in case of fire, thereby preventing the spread of fire to other compartments. It is advisable to provide emergency exits, besides the main entry door to the Records Room to remove valuable archival material to safety, when necessary. Every Records Room should be fitted with a fire detection alarm system to detect any fire in the storage area. Use of naked light, heaters and smoking in the room circuits should be prohibited. As a preventive measure against accidental fires, all light and power circuits should be switched off after office hours. Watch and ward staff provided for this area may use torches, if necessary.

Use of temporary lights, loose and ordinary flexible wire for fans, air-circulators and other electrical appliances for the repository should be avoided and instead ‘workshop Braded and Armored’ flexible wire should be used. Electrical appliances and fittings in the repository should be periodically checked for loose connections and defects rectified. In this connection, detailed instruction laid down in “IS:1642-1989 Code of Practice for Fire Safety of Buildings (General) – Details of Construction (first Revision) Reaffirmed Nov. 2010)”, “IS: 11460-1985 Code of practice for Fire Safety of Libraries and Archives Buildings (Reaffirmed 2010)” may be followed.

9.2 for combating fires, adequate equipment of carbon dioxide (CO2) type be provided at suitable places in the Records Room for easy accessibility. Besides, water pipes and hoses should be installed at convenient points to fight any major conflagration.

9.3 All the equipments for either detection of fire or combating of fire should be checked at regular intervals to ensure that they are in active operative state. Similarly, staff connected with the storage of records should be trained in fire fighting. A fire drill may be arranged at least once in two months to keep the trained staff alert.

9.4 Instructions regarding prevention of fire and fire fighting should be prominently displayed in the Records Room. Likewise telephone numbers of fire Service Station should also be prominently displayed at a central place in the Records Room. It will help seeking quick aid of the expert fire fighting agencies , whenever exigencies so demand.

 

10. Conclusion

10.1 To sum up, good housekeeping, creation of hygienic conditions, proper breathing environment, combined with consistent staff vigilance would facilitate maintenance of records in healthy state and for prolonging their life. The overall responsibility of the records room should be entrusted to the Records officer nominated as envisaged under sub section 1 of section 5 of public Records Act, 1993.

            So far as the digital records are concerned, as per the provisions of para 97 of the central secretariat Manual of e-office Procedure, (1st –ed ., 2012) issued by the Department of Administrative reforms and public Grievances (DARPG), the archiving of digital records i.e. disposed/closed e-files and correspondence have to be taken at regular intervals. Two copies of the archived digital records have to be maintained one with the Date Centre/Digital Record room to be set up as part of e-office and the other at the locating of disaster Recovery site. This will be the responsibility of NIC/NAI/any other agency designated by the Government. However guidelines in respect of Digital Records Room are yet to be framed.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------