The Union Cabinet of India, on 23 May 2013 approved to classify Malayalam as the Classical Language. Earlier, the Government of India had notified Kannada, Tamil and Telugu as the classical languages.
The benefits that are enjoyed by the Classical Languages include:
• Two major annual international awards for scholars of eminence in classical Indian languages
• A Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Languages will be established
• The University Grants Commission will be requested to create and start with at least in the Central Universities, a certain number of Professional Chairs for Classical Languages for scholars of eminence in classical Indian languages
A request for declaration of Malayalam as the Classical Language was started by the Kerala government as well as certain other organisations. These requests were then referred to Sahitya Akademi and were also discussed by Committee of Linguistic Experts. A meeting of Committee of Linguistic Experts was held in January 2011. The members suggested that this committee should be reconstituted. Eventually, new panel of the committee was constituted and a decision was finalised.