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Hindi being ‘promoted’ as per Act: Rijiju

Kiren Rijiju

Kiren Rijiju  

Only implementing parliamentary panel recommendations, claims government

Faced with criticism that the Central government is unfairly imposing Hindi on non-Hindi-speaking States, the Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju told The Hindu that the government was only promoting the language as per an Act of Parliament.

In March, the Department of Official Language of the Home Ministry pulled out a 2011 report of a Committee of Parliament on Official Language and sent it to the President for approval.

The “progressive” use of Hindi in the Central government offices is reviewed by this Committee every 10 years under the Official Languages Act, 1963 and the Rules framed under it.

As many as 110 out of the 117 recommendations in this report were accepted by the President.

The Home Ministry has issued an advisory to all States and government departments to implement the recommendations.

A Home Ministry official said that though the recommendations were not mandatory, the government would still ensure its implementation by continuously writing to the States and various government departments.

On Sunday, DMK leader M.K. Stalin had released a video message on social media in which he accused the NDA government of treating non-Hindi speakers as second-class citizens and aiming to convert the country into “Hindia”.

The Parliamentary Committee’s recommendations included, among others, giving students the option of writing their exams in Hindi; making minimum knowledge of Hindi compulsory for government jobs; ensuring that the government spends more on Hindi advertisements than English ones; the railway ministry should buy equipment with lettering in Devnagri script; railway tickets should be bilingual, with Hindi being one of the two languages; Hindi should be an option for UPSC aspirants; Cabinet ministers should deliver their speeches in Hindi as much as possible; and making it mandatory at railway stations in ‘C’ category (non-Hindi speaking) states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Kerala to have announcements in Hindi.

Refuses to comment

When asked why a six-year-old report was suddenly being pushed by the government, Mr. Rijiju said, “I won’t comment on why the report was sent for President’s approval now. Files move as per the regular procedures. We promote all Indian languages, and Hindi is one of them. This is not an imposition but promotion of Hindi.”

The NDA government had moved earlier as well to “promote” Hindi. In February 2015, it had constituted a Hindi Advisory Committee in various ministries and departments to “ensure the progressive use of Hindi”.

In May 2015, the government had issued an order that as per the Official Languages Act, 1963, all government files would have to be issued bilingually, in Hindi and English.

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