The Sahitya Akademi (साहित्य अकादमी), India's National Academy of Letters, is an organisation dedicated to the promotion of literature in the languages of India. Founded on March 1954, it is supported by, though independent of, the Indian government and situated at Rabindra Bhavan near Mandi House area.
The Sahitya Akademi organises national and regional workshops and seminars; provides research and travel grants to authors; publishes books and journals, including the Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature; and presents the annual Sahitya Akademi Award of Rs. 100,000 (approx. USD 1,500 (as in year 2013)) in each of the 24 languages it supports, as well as the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship for lifetime achievement. The Sahitya Akademi Library is one of the largest multi-lingual libraries in India, with a rich collection of books on literature and allied subjects. Also it publishes two bimonthly literary journals -- Indian Literature in English and Samkaleen Bharatiya Sahitya in Hindi.
Controversies and Parliamentary Committee Reviews
There have been widespread allegations of corruption and controversial appointments under the Presidentship of Gopi Chand Narang who headed Sahitya Akademi from 2003 to 2007 and the current President Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari. Agrahara Krishnamurthy, appointed as the Secretary of Sahitya Akademi by Narang, had undergone a CBI probe in a paper purchase scam at the time of his appointment, and was censured and forced to retire after being accused of financial irregularities in 2012. The appointment by a committee comprising of Narang, Tiwari and others of the current Secretary K.Sreenivasa Rao, is also controversial as Rao’s academic credentials for the top job, who had joined the Akademi as a lower division clerk (LDC), are said to be insufficient and extremely dubious.
The 171st Parliamentary Standing Committee on the functioning of Sahitya Akademi and three other institutions chaired by Sitaram Yechury and tabled at the Loksabha in August 2011 states, "It was felt that most of these institutions were not able to live upto the original mandates set out by their founding fathers. Controversies of different kind involving these institutions that keep cropping up from time to time, had caught this Committee’s attention. Questions were also raised about the indifference and helplessness shown by the Ministry of Culture to do anything in the face of autonomy enjoyed by these institutions." It also wanted Sahitya Akademi to adopt the recommendation of Haksar Committee (1988) of having its head appointed by the President, a practice followed by Sangeet Natak and Lalit Kala Akademies, to avoid "the inevitable complications of the existing system of elections."
- Hota, AK (2000). Encyclopaedia of New Media and Educational Planning. `. pp. 310–12. ISBN 978-81-7625-170-9.
- "National Academies: Sahitya Akademi". Government of India. Retrieved 1 January 2011.
- "171st Report of Parliamentary Committee". Rajya Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi.
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