What is ICH?
According to the UNESCO "Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage", ICH is manifested in the domains of: "oral traditions and expressions; performing arts; social practices, rituals and festive events; knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe; and traditional craftsmanship." It includes folklore and legend, traditional music, theatre and dance, life-cycle ceremonies and festivals, traditional healing arts such as herbal therapy, and traditional handicrafts such as wood carving, pottery, dyeing and weaving.
The intangible cultural heritage of India includes forms of popular and traditional expression such as, oral literature, music, dance, games, mythology, rituals, costumes and craftwork know-how. Intangible heritage also includes cultural spaces, where popular and traditional cultural activities take place in a concentrated manner (sites for story-telling, rituals, marketplaces, festivals, daily rituals, annual processions, regular performances etc.). The cultural heritage, in this sense, is also linked to the professions and income generating activities such as agriculture, livestock rearing, forestry, fisheries etc.
Different departments of the government have been dealing with issues relating to living cultures/traditions of the land in one way or another. However, there has long been lack of concerted efforts to identify, preserve and most importantly conserve India's rich intangible cultural heritage. There is therefore a the need to identify and promote groups, individual, institutions and ideas involved in conserving India's Intangible Cultural Heritage
A Coordination Committee on the Living and Diverse Traditions of India has thus been formed by the Ministry of Culture to chalk out ways and methods for developing new strategies to conserve India's rich intangible cultural heritage. The Coordination Committee has constituted a sub group who is taking the lead to develop innovative and appropriate databases, towards recording the living traditions of India which also brings out the diversity of the natural, cultural and human landscape. The committee also recommends a digital presence on the web to make information accessible to a larger audience
The Ministry of Culture has appointed Centre for Environment Education to carry out a first level documentation of persons, institutions, reference material and ideas which deal with conservation of Intangible Cultural Heritage of India. This effort is being called "Project Parampara".