Data from the Ministry of Culture shows that the Centre spent Rs 643.84 crore on promoting Sanskrit since 2017, compared to Rs 22.94 crore on Tamil during the same period.

Govt spent Rs 644 cr to promote Sanskrit other classical languages got Rs 29 crImage: PTI
news Languages Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 16:54

The Government of India spent 22 times more on the promotion of Sanskrit in the last three years compared to five other languages that enjoy the ‘classical language’ status, as per data released by the Union Ministry of Culture.

While the Centre has spent Rs 643.84 crore on promoting Sanskrit since 2017, it has spent only Rs 22.94 crore on Tamil, Rs 3.06 crore on Telugu and Rs 3.06 crore on Kannada during the same time period.

This means that on Sanskrit alone the Centre spent 22 times the combined Rs 29 crore that it spent on the three languages.

As per 2011 census data, 24,821 people had registered Sanskrit as their mother tongue.

The data was released in response to an unstarred question in the Lok Sabha, which sought details of Indian languages which had been accorded the ‘classical language’ status.

The question, which was posed by three Shiv Sena MPs along with two BJP MPs, sought to know whether the Indian government had implemented any schemes to provide financial assistance to various classical language projects and details of the same.

In its response, the Centre said that there were six Indian languages that are considered classical languages – Tamil, Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Odia.

“For Sanskrit language, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan (RSKS), New Delhi under Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, has been established as the nodal authority for promoting the language. For Classical Telugu and Classical Kannada, HRD Ministry has established Centres of Excellence for Studies in respective languages in Central Institute of Indian Languages (CllL), Mysore during 2011,” the Centre said in its response.

With respect to Tamil, “an autonomous organisation namely, Central Institute of Classical Tamil (CICT), has been established at Chennai by HRD Ministry,” the Centre said.

It also said that in addition to this the University Grants Commission (UGC) had approved a Centre for Classical Languages in Telugu at the University of Hyderabad and a Centre for Classical Languages in Kannada at the Central University of Karnataka.

“HRD Ministry is considering setting up of establishment of Centres of Excellence for Classical Odia and Classical Malayalam,” the Centre said in its response, suggesting that no separate fund for the promotion of the two languages had been created.

A language is dubbed as ‘classical’ if there is a recorded history of around 1,500 to 2,000 years, or if it has a detailed body of ancient literature, among other criteria.

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