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Indian Polity

Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution

  • 04 Aug 2021
  • 4 min read

Why in News

Recently, the Union Minister of Education has informed in the Lok Sabha about the various steps taken by the government to promote the Languages in Eighth Schedule.

Key Points

  • Eighth Schedule:
    • About:
      • It lists the official languages of the republic of India. Part XVII of the Indian constitution deals with the official languages in Articles 343 to 351.
      • The Constitutional provisions related to the Eighth Schedule are:
        • Article 344: Article 344(1) provides for the constitution of a Commission by the President on expiration of five years from the commencement of the Constitution.
        • Article 351: It provides for the spread of the Hindi language to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India.
      • However, It can be noted that there is no fixed criteria for any language to be considered for inclusion in the Eighth Schedule.
    • Official Languages:
      • The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution consists of the following 22 languages:
        • Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Oriya, Punjabi,Sanskrit, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Bodo, Santhali, Maithili and Dogri.
      • Of these languages, 14 were initially included in the Constitution.
      • Sindhi language was added by the 21st Amendment Act of 1967.
      • Konkani, Manipuri, and Nepali were included by the 71st Amendment Act of 1992.
      • Bodo, Dogri, Maithili, and Santhali were added by the 92nd Amendment Act of 2003 which came into force in 2004.
  • Classical Languages:
    • About:
      • 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.
    • Guidelines:
      • The Ministry of Culture provides the guidelines regarding Classical languages which are as given below:
        • 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 is 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.
    • Benefits for Promotion: 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.

Source: PIB

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