Sanskrit institutions to get central university status

The University Grants Commission (UGC). File photo

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the government has begun a move to accord central university status to three Sanskrit institutions which are currently functioning as deemed-to-be-universities.

The human resource development (HRD) ministry has prepared and circulated a Cabinet note to other ministries, seeking their comments on the proposal.

Grant of central university status to the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, New Delhi and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati, has been a long-standing demand from the Sanskrit scholars and other stakeholders.

The demands grew louder after the BJP-led NDA came to power after winning the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

“Based on the persistent demand from the Sanskrit scholars, academia persuading the Sanskrit education, the HRD ministry has initiated a proposal to convert Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth and Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Tirupati into central universities,” Minister of State for HRD Satyapal Singh told the Rajya Sabha while replying to a question recently.

The ministry has come up with the proposal to make these three deemed-to-be universities “seats of Sanskrit learning of national and international repute,” he said.

“A Cabinet note, accordingly, has been prepared and circulated to obtain comments on the proposal,” the minister added.

To convert the three deemed-to-be-universities into central universities, the government will have to bring a bill in Parliament.

According to sources, the ministry is racing against time to get the bill cleared from the Cabinet and introduce it in Parliament for its passage before the country goes for the Lok Sabha polls later this year.

Grant of central university status would be a shot in arm of the three Sanskrit institutions, which being deemed-to-be universities, do not have powers to grant affiliation to colleges and attract more students from within India and abroad.

The central university tag would also enable these three institutions to authorise Sanskrit pathshalas to offer certificate courses.

Delhi-based Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, certified by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council as grade 'A' institution under the deemed-to-be-university category, operates 10 off campuses across the country.

On a request from the HRD ministry, the university grants commission (UGC) in 2015 exempted the Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan from it's regulations which restricted deemed-to-be-universities from opening more than six off campuses.

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