Prelims level : Policies Mains level : GS-II Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and Issues Arising out of their design and implementation.
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Why in News?

  • Recently, a Bill to grant the status of Central universities to three deemed Sanskrit universities were passed by the Rajya Sabha.

About the bill:

  • The Bill is intended to convert India’s three deemed-to-be Sanskrit universities into Central Sanskrit Universities.
    • Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi.
    • Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi.
    • Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati.
  • What the universities will do?
    • The proposed central universities will:
    • disseminate and advance knowledge for the promotion of Sanskrit,
    • make special provisions for integrated courses in humanities, social sciences, and science, and
    • train manpower for the overall development and preservation of Sanskrit and allied subjects.
  • Powers and functions:
  • These include:

    • prescribing courses of study and conducting training programmes,
    • granting degrees, diplomas, and certificates,
    • providing facilities through a distance education system,
    • conferring autonomous status on a college or an institution,
    • providing instructions for education in Sanskrit and allied subjects.
  • Some of the authorities that the universities will have:
    • A court, which will review the policies of the university and suggest measures for its development.
    • An Executive Council, which will be the principal executive body.
    • The 15-member council will include the Vice-Chancellor appointed by the Centre, who will be the chairperson.
    • The council will, among other functions, create teaching and academic posts and their appointment, and manage the revenue and property of the university.
    • An Academic and Activity Council, which will supervise academic policies.
    • A Board of Studies, which will approve the subjects for research and recommend measures to improve standards of teaching.
  • Visitor of the universities:
    • Like at all central universities, the President of India will be the Visitor of the central Sanskrit universities.
    • He may appoint persons to review and inspect the functioning of the University.
    • The Executive Council may take action based on the findings of the inspection.

What is the Issue?

  • The government has been accused of neglecting other classical languages in India.
  • Currently there are six languages that enjoy the ‘Classical’ status in India:
    • Tamil (declared in 2004), Sanskrit (2005), Kannada (2008), Telugu (2008), Malayalam (2013), and Odia (2014).
    • All the Classical Languages are listed in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

About Classical Languages:

  • The Ministry of Culture provides the guidelines regarding Classical languages.
  • Guidelines for declaring a language as ‘Classical’ are:
    • High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years;
    • A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers;
    • The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community;
    • The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.
  • Once a language is notified as a Classical language, the Human Resource and Development Ministry provides certain benefits to promote it:
  • Two major annual international awards for scholars of eminence in classical Indian languages
  • A Centre of Excellence for studies in Classical Languages is set up
  • The University Grants Commission is requested to create, to start with at least in the Central Universities, a certain number of Professional Chairs for the Classical Languages so declared.
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