Following demands, the Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its approval for putting Odia in the list of classical language.
There were demands that since Odia, one of the oldest languages, has no resemblance to Hindi, Sanskrit, Bengali, and Telugu and similar other languages it should be declared as a classical language.
With this, Odia will join the exclusive club of Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam, which have already been declared as classical languages.
Once a language is granted classical status, a 'Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Languages' can be set up, an official statement said.
The University Grants Commission can also be requested to create a certain number of professional chairs for classical languages, for scholars of eminence in the concerned language.
A committee of linguistic experts, appointed by the Culture ministry, had recommended that Odia be made a classical language.
Odia is billed as the first language from the Indo-Aryan linguistic group.
The criteria for declaring a language as classical requires high antiquity of its early texts and recorded history over a period of 1,500-2,000 years.
Also a literary tradition that is original and not borrowed from another speech community is a must.