The Education Minister of India, Mr Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ addressed the issue of the promotion of the Sanskrit language in universities. He did so in the Rajya Sabha in response to relevant questions asked by Mr.K. C. Ramamurthy. According to the minister, a total of 17 universities funded by the central government constitutes the Sanskrit language departments.
The University Grants Commission (UGC) informed the education ministry that 17 central universities have a special Sanskrit language department present. Furthermore, the government has also established three central universities with the purpose of teaching and conducting research in the ancient language. These three universities are namely Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri national Sanskrit University in New Delhi, National Sanskrit University in Tirupati and Central Sanskrit University in New Delhi.
UGC has also released grants and extended financial support to various universities for promoting and propagating Sanskrit language usage. These universities are spread across the country and located in Bihar, Kerala, Maharashtra, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. The financial support was provided by UGC during the XII plan period from 2012-2017 and extended up to March 31, 2020. Details of the same were provided by the education minister under the annexure attached to the document.
Five universities across the country received financial assistance from UGC. The Kameshwar Singh Darbhanga Sanskrit University located in Darbhanga; Bihar received Rs.391.60 lakhs from the committee. Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit at Kalady in Kerala received a total grant of Rs.320.00 lakhs as financial assistance.
Kavikulguru Kalidas Sanskrit University located in Nagpur, Maharashtra received Rs.420 lakhs as a grant from the committee. In the state of Odisha, Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University located in Puri received considerable financial assistance of Rs.339.20 lakhs. Lastly, the Sampurnanand Sanskrit University located in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh also received monetary support of Rs.341.20 lakhs.
The education minister was also asked about the details of financial assistance provided by the UGC or the ministry to the Karnataka Sanskrit University located in Bangalore. The minister responded to this by saying that Karnataka University is a state-run educational organization. Hence, it does not come under the ambit of Section 12B of the UGC Act, 1956. The same was informed to the minister by the grants commission.
Sanskrit is an indigenous language of historical importance to our country. However, over the centuries, its usage has drastically reduced and now, few individuals know how to speak this language fluently. With the view to propagate and promote this language, UGC provides grants to certain universities to conduct research and teaching of this ancient language.