Indian Council For Cultural Relations - ICCR

ICCR full form is Indian Council for Cultural Relations. It is a government organisation founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India’s first Education Minister.

Dive deep into the information and facts about Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad on the linked page. 

ICCR has been in news recently for completing 70th year of its foundation on April 9th 2020, hence the topic is relevant for the General Awareness section of various competitive or Government exams.

Also, facts related to ICCR would be helpful for IAS Exam aspirants to prepare for the prelims and general studies 2 of UPSC examination. 

Candidates preparing for various competitive exams can visit the link provided to prepare even better for the examination-

  1. Free Online Quiz for Government Exams
  2. Government Exams Free Mock Test Series
  3. Government Exam Previous Year Question Papers with Solution PDFs

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[ICCR] Indian Council For Cultural Relations – Overview

  • The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India. There are other bodies in Government of India, candidates can check the linked page for relevant details-
    1. Constitutional bodies
    2. Constitutional, Statutory and Quasi-Judicial Bodies
  • It was founded on 9 April 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
  • ICCR is involved in India’s external cultural relations or cultural diplomacy, through cultural exchange with other countries and their peoples. It works to strengthen cultural relations and promote mutual understandings.
  • Registered as a Society under the Societies Act, ICCR operates as an independent body under the administrative control of the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe (MP Rajya Sabha) serves as the president of ICCR. 
  • The ICCR Headquarters are situated in Azad Bhavan, I.P. Estate, New Delhi. Its activities within the country are handled by their 19 regional offices they are – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Chennai, Goa, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Jammu, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai, Patna, Pune, Shillong, Thiruvananthapuram and Varanasi.
  • ICCR has institutionalised their cooperation with state governments and has signed memorandum of understanding with 17 state governments. The states which have signed MoU with ICCR are – Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, North Eastern Council, Odisha, Puducherry, Punjab, Telangana and Rajasthan Jaipur Citizen Forum.
  • The Council’s activities are overseen by its three statutory bodies – General Assembly, Governing Body and Finance Committee. 
  • ICCR operates through a global network of cultural centres and India’s Diplomatic Missions and Post’s abroad.
  • Currently, there are 37 Indian Cultural Centres all over the world which work closely with the Indian Embassy and are headed by directors.

Read about India’s relation with other countries-

India-Thailand Relations India-Myanmar Relations India-Africa Relations
India-China Relations India-Bhutan Relations India – Sri Lanka Relations
India-Vietnam Relations India-Maldives Relations India-Nepal Relations

India – United States Relations

  • The ICCR has been sanctioned with the authority to implement several programmes. The two key areas of ICCR’s operations are Academic and Intellectual exchange programmes and the active promotion of Visual and Performing arts and artistes all over the world.
  • The ICCR organizes the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Memorial International Oration on the occasion of World Culture Day on May 21. The first lecture was addressed by then External Affairs Minister Mrs Sushma Swaraj. 
  • On the occasion of 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, ICCR organized an International Youth Seminar on “Teachings of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji and Contribution of Sikhism in Universal Wellbeing” at Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra on November 6, 2019.
  • Indian Council for Cultural Relations holds various ICCR Scholarships and Orientation programmes. The courses offered for studies are for under-graduation, post-graduation and M. Phil /PhD levels. It also holds Summer and winter camps. 
  • In a step forward towards “Digital India”, ICCR developed “Admissions to Alumni (A2A Portal)” to streamline and make the scholarship work transparent. Read in-depth about Digital India on the given link. 
Gain an edge over your competition to ace competitive exams in the first attempt! Check the links for comprehensive preparation –

ICCR Objectives

The overall mandate of ICCR is promoting Indian culture abroad and furthering cultural ties with the rest of the world. The main objective of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations is –

  1. To foster harmony and encourage people to people interactions between India and other countries and project its distinct cultural identity all over the world. So that the synergy created will reverberate in stronger diplomatic, strategic and economic equations.
  2. To actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations.
  3. To foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries,
  4. To promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people, and to develop relations with nations.

Download Art, Culture, Literature & Architecture NCERT Notes PDF (Free)

Indian Council and Cultural Relations – Significance

  • It provides a platform to promote Indian art, theatre, instrumental and vocal music of the Carnatic and Hindustani genres and folk art forms to audiences abroad.

Some important links for candidates preparation-

Traditional Theatre Forms in India Indian Classical Dances Folk Music in India
Difference between Hindustani and Carnatic music Puppet Forms in India Tribal Paintings of India
  • It encourages active discussions and interaction between scholars and those interested in Indian languages, culture and heritage by organizing Seminars, Conferences and Workshops abroad.
  • Creates an endearing and everlasting image and promotes India’s soft power overseas through dissemination of its heritage, values and philosophy.

ICCR Awards & Honours

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations has instituted several awards, which are conferred upon the foreign nationals for their contributions in different fields, under its mandate of promoting India’s cultural relations with other countries.

  1. Gisela Bonn Awards- The Annual Gisela Bonn Award was instituted in 1996 by ICCR in the honour of famous German journalist, writer, environmental activist and Indologist,Gisela Bonn. The Award is annually conferred upon a German national for his/her contribution towards the promotion of Indo-German Friendship.
  2. ICCR Distinguished Alumni Award – instituted in 2015, the award is conferred upon foreign nationals who have studied in India, and have contributed to the promotion of understanding, goodwill and friendship between India with people of their countries.
  3. Distinguished Indologist Award – The annual “ICCR Distinguished Indologist Award” was instituted in 2015 during the First World Indology Conference hosted in India. Award is conferred upon a foreign scholar for his contribution in the study, teaching and research in any of the fields of Indian Studies.
  4. World Sanskrit Award –The institution of annual “World Sanskrit Award” was announced during the 16th World Sanskrit Conference held in Bangkok in June 2015 recognizing the contribution of foreign scholars in promoting Sanskrit studies.

Aspirants preparing for various examinations can check out various Important Acts in India related to economy, polity and governance etc. on the given link.

UPSC aspirants are advised to prepare the art and culture for their exams from the official website of ICCR ( for comprehensive preparation.

Other Related Links  

National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog) University Grants Commission (UGC) Best Art and Culture Books For UPSC
Important Art and Culture Questions How to Study Indian Art and Culture? Important topics for Art and Culture

Aspirants preparing for the UPSC exam can check the links given below –

  1. UPSC 2021
  2. UPSC Calendar 2021
  3. UPSC Syllabus
  4. Analysis of the Press Information Bureau

You can also check out the preparation strategies for competitive exams to fine-tune your exam prep.

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