9 yrs later, classical status just an ornament for Kannada

9 yrs later, classical status just an ornament for Kannada

9 yrs later, classical status just an ornament for Kannada

The much-touted classical status for Kannada has brought nothing more than ornamental value to the language, with the central institute in Mysuru failing to utilise nearly 75% of the funds allocated for Kannada.

In the nine years since the language got classical status, the Centre has allocated under Rs 9 crore for its development, most of which has never been utilised. According to an RTI reply, the Centre of Excellence For Studies in Classical Kannada, which functions under the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), has utilised only Rs 2.47 crore of the Rs 8.9 crore allocated since 2011-12.

Considering the expenditure against the allocation, the highest utilisation was 50% of the Rs 1 crore allocated in 2016-17. The Centre, which allocated a Rs 2-crore annual fund in 2012-13, reduced it by half from the next year as the spending did not go above 20%. Officials in the state government as well as sources in CIIL blamed the lack of a project director to plan and implement projects. An official said since the state doesn't have a role in the institute, it is left to the CIIL to take such steps.

"Many of those who headed the institute were non-Kannadigas. This leads to a disconnect, where the real intention of getting classical status to Kannada is forgotten," he said, noting that the utilisation of funds mirrors the fact.

Kuvempu Bhasha Bharati Pradhikara chairperson
K Marulasiddappa said a huge debate took place on whether the  Centre of Excellence For Studies in Classical Kannada should be located in Mysuru or Bengaluru. "The focus on the development of the language was lost. The state government should have tried to make it an autonomous institute. This is how, in Tamil Nadu, institutes get additional funds beyond allocation."

Kannada Development Authority chairman S G Siddaramaiah said there have been positive developments recently.

"Last week, I met Union Minister (Prakash) Javadekar and requested for an appointment of a project director exclusively for Kannada. The appointment has already been made (K R Durgadas) to ensure that funds allocated are spent for the development of the language. Six awards for classical Kannada, each carrying Rs 5 lakh, have been pending, which will be announced within the next two weeks," he said. Asked about autonomy, he said that was the next part of his work. "The issue can be decided by the Union government. I have already held discussions on the matter."