India’s Business Standard comes out in favor of rewriting India’s antiquities laws to allow for a regulated trade:
Misplaced nationalism has led to the irredeemable loss of Indian antiquities – which are being smuggled out of the country, to be sold and bought by unscrupulous elements subscribing to its illegal trade. In the absence of a lawful business in antiquities, in which the exchequer stands to gain with every transaction, its unregulated, illicit trafficking has engendered a flourishing underground market. The notion that Indian art and antiquities must be collected only by Indians confined to geographical India is as flawed as the belief that anything over a hundred years old is antique and has inherent value. Now, the Centre is reportedly considering changes that will correct this problem, and allow for an open trade in antiquities. According to the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972, no person or agency other than the government can export antiques. Not only does this limit commercial activity, it curtails any opportunity for the exhibition of Indian artefacts by any agency other than the state. The changes to the Act, thus, are aimed at containing unethical dealings while strengthening domestic and international markets for antiquities.
In an antique trade (Business Standard Editorials)