New Delhi: State governments can allow the teaching of the Bhagavad Gita to school students if they want, the Centre told Lok Sabha on Monday.

Replying to members’ questions in the Lower House, Union Minister for Education Annapurna Devi said the state governments can also make provisions for the teaching of Bhojpuri language in schools if they want.

She added that under the new education policy, the education of children in regional languages has been made compulsory. “Education comes in the concurrent list of (the Constitution). If the states want, they can add Bhagavad Gita in curriculum.”

“Under the CBSE (central board of secondary school education) pattern, Bhagavad Gita is already taught in various classes. If states want they can add Bhagavad Gita,” the minister told the House during the Question Hour.

She was replying to a question by BJP’s North Mumbai MP Gopal Shetty. The BJP member wanted to know from the government if it is considering bringing provisions for the teaching of Bhagavad Gita in schools across the country.

While asking his question, Shetty also suggested that the Congress members read Bhagavad Gita “so that they get the wisdom to do good work”.

Congress members were at that time protesting in the House over Lakhimpur Kheri violence, and demanding the sacking of Union Minister for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra as his son Ashish Mishra is one of the accused arrested in the case.

“Some contents from the Bhagavad Gita are already there for the students of classes Class 6, 7 and 8. Bhagavad Gita is taught,” the minister said in her reply.

In his question, BJP member Nishikant Dubey sought to know from the government if it was considering giving recognition to Bhojpuri or making the language part of the school curriculum for students of classes 1-12 and the higher education institutions as well.

He said people from Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have been demanding it for a long time.

“Under the new education policy, education of children in Indian language and regional languages has been made compulsory. States can teach (school) children in Bhojpuri. States can implement the new education policy and teach (Bhojpuri) in Class 1 to 12,” the minister of state for education replied.

The minister said the Union government issues advisories to the state governments from time to time

“If the state governments want, they can comply with them and make provisions for teaching (Bhojpuri) to students of Classes 1 to 12,” she added.

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