The Uttar Pradesh government has left the Taj Mahal, an UNESCO world heritage site, out of cultural heritage site in its maiden budget speech presented on Tuesday.
The annual budget for 2017-2018 makes no mention of Taj Mahal in the special section 'Hamari Sanskritik Virasat' (Our Cultural Heritage) incorporated in the finance minister's 63-page speech, the Hindustan Times reported on Wednesday.
However, as per reports, a number of schemes were announced for Hindu pilgrimage towns of Ayodhya, Varanasi, Mathura, and Chitrakoot.
Finance Minister Rajesh Agarwal after invoking Hindu god Ram in the assembly said that the government has formulated schemes for maintenance of places of cultural and historical importance to promote tourism.
The exclusion of Taj Mahal from the budget speech has not gone down well with academics and historians. They opined that the government should promote the composite multi-faith culture of India's largest state.
Professor Rajesh Mishra of Lucknow University advised the government to either completely delink the state from all religious establishments or be more considerate to sentiments of people of all religions. "There is no room for appeasement for people of one religion and complete disregard for others," he told Hindustan Times.
It may be recalled that Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has often pointed out that the Taj Mahal, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan, did not reflect India's ancient culture.