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Sanskrit to be declared classical language

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Thursday decided to declare Sanskrit a classical language. So far, only Tamil enjoys that status. More funds will now be available for research in Sanskrit and Universities will be able to set up Chairs for studies on the language. Announcing the decision, Union Minister and Cabinet spokesperson S. Jaipal Reddy said that it was also decided to relax the standard for declaring a language classical. Earlier, they had to be at least 2,000 years old. Now, languages that are over 1,500 years old will be eligible for being included in that category.

The Government was also considering claims for including Kannada and Telugu in that category. "Kannada and Telugu linguistic groups have made claims for including them as classical languages. The claims are being referred to the experts panel for their recommendation," Mr. Reddy said. The Cabinet also cleared the setting up of two Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research at Pune and Kolkata at a cost of Rs. 500 crores each. The institutes would focus on pure science and offer post-graduate, doctoral and post-doctoral courses and promote advanced research. The decision was the result of a feeling in the scientific community that there had been more focus on applied science and technology and not enough attention was being paid to pure science, Mr. Reddy said.

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