Puri:The first ever cabinet that meet outside the state capital, here on Tuesday, accorded its approval to a number of proposals that aimed at championing the Odia language in the state.

The state cabinet chaired by chief mininister, Naveen Patnaik, decided for formation of a Odia Language Commission, waiver of fees for pursuing Odia at degree and post graduate levels, and  holding of ‘World Odia Language Convention’ every five years. It also decided that the government will respond in Odia to all letter, complaint or application addressed to it.

The state tourism and culture minister, Ashok Chandra Panda, and health minister Pratap Jena, while briefing media flanked by development commissioiner R Balakrishnan and culture secretary Manoranjan Panigrahi , said the Byasa Kabi Fakir Mohan scholarship norms will be relaxed to make more students eligible for the same. It was also decided to give incentive to students pursuing research in Odia language in the lines of University Grants Commission (UGC). The number of seats in PhD in Odia will be increased and measures taken to strengthen faculty if require, they added.

The Cabinet also decided on instituting prizes for those who have contributed to research and designing of Odia web portals. Every block and district will have its own library where large number of Odia books will be made available which will finally transform into ‘Smart Libraries’.

The Orissa Shops & Commercial Establishment Act, 1956 will be amended to make it compulsory for commercial establishments to have Odia signage.

The cabinet decided to constitute a heritage cabinet, which will work for the growth and preservation of Odia literature and language.

Deciding to separate tourism department from culture department, the cabinet decided to double the funds for  renovation of Bhagabata Tungi.