The Sahitya Akademi was formally inaugurated by the Government of India on 12 March 1954. The Government of India Resolution, which set forth the constitution of the Akademi, described it as a national organisation to work actively for the development of Indian letters and to set high literary standards, to foster and co-ordinate literary activities in all the Indian languages and to promote through them all the cultural unity of the country. Though set up by the Government, the Akademi functions as an autonomous organization. It was registered as a society on 7 January 1956, under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters, is the central institution for literary dialogue, publication, and promotion in the country and the only institution that undertakes literary activities in 24 Indian languages, including English. Akademi gives 24 awards annually to literary works in the languages it has recognized and an equal number of awards to literary translations from and into the languages of India, both after a year-long process of scrutiny, discussion and selection. It also gives special awards called Bhasha Samman to a significant contribution to the languages not formally recognized by the Akademi as also for contribution to classical and medieval literature.