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Hindi medium in colleges, govt, recruitment exams…and UN — what Shah-led language panel wants

Union Home Minister Amit Shah presented the 11th report of the Committee of Parliament on Official Language to President Droupadi Murmu on 9 September | Twitter / @rashtrapatibhvn
Union Home Minister Amit Shah presented the 11th report of the Committee of Parliament on Official Language to President Droupadi Murmu on 9 September | Twitter / @rashtrapatibhvn

New Delhi: Hindi as a compulsory medium of instruction in educational institutions ranging from Kendriya Vidyalayas to IITs and central universities, Hindi papers replacing compulsory English ones in government recruitment exams, and Hindi as an official language at the United Nations — these are just some of the recommendations made by Parliament’s official language committee, headed by Union home minister Amit Shah, in its latest report.

The report, accessed by ThePrint, also says that proceedings of high courts in Hindi-speaking states should be in Hindi. It warns against government officials and employees who “deliberately don’t work in Hindi”, saying that explanations ought to be sought from them. “In case of no satisfactory reply an entry to this effect should be made in their annual performance report,” it adds.

This is part of the 11th volume of the committee report, which Shah presented to  President Droupadi Murmu in September.

The Committee of Parliament on Official Language came into existence as a result of arrangements made in the Official Language Act, 1963. It was set up in 1976 under Section 4 of the Act and comprises 30 MPs, 20 from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha.  It’s responsible for reviewing the progress made in the use of Hindi for the official purpose of the Union.

On the use of Hindi in educational institutions, the report says, “Medium of instruction and other activities should be Hindi in all technical and non-technical institutions in the country and use of English should be made optional.”

Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management, and All India Institutes of Medical Sciences are some examples of technical institutes, while Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas, and central universities fall under the category of non-technical institutes.

English as a medium of instruction should be retained only where it’s absolutely necessary, and should gradually be replaced by Hindi, the report adds.

Discussing recruitment examinations for government jobs, the report says that compulsory English-language question papers give the impression that English is more important, and so, they ought to be replaced by Hindi-medium papers.

“It is mandatory to work in Hindi in the institutions of the Goverment of India. In such a situation, the necessity of knowledge of Hindi is important at the time of selection of employees. Therefore the committee recommends that the knowledge of Hindi should be ensured for the selection of employees,” it says.

And due to the “popularity of Hindi due to globalisation and liberalisation,” it should become an official language of the United Nations, the report says.

Proceedings of high courts located in Region A should take place in Hindi, and English translations should be provided only if there’s a constitutional requirement, says the report.

Region A refers to states belonging to the Hindi heartland — those that have Hindi as their official language. This categorisation is under the Official Language Rules, 1976.

The committee has also recommended that more than 50 per cent of the budget of government advertisements should continue to be allocated to Hindi ads.

“Advertisements should be published as much as possible in Hindi and regional languages. To keep the cost even, Hindi advertisements should be given in larger size and on the main page while English advertisements should be given in smaller size and on the last or middle pages,” the report says.

The committee has also suggested that if government posts requiring Hindi-language expertise lie vacant for over three years, then the head of the concerned organisation must be held responsible, and an entry to this effect must be made in their annual performance appraisal.

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Other recommendations in the report

• Correspondence by central government offices, ministries or departments, such as letters, faxes, and emails, should take place in Hindi.

• Simple and easy Hindi should be used in official work.

• Invitation letters, speeches, and moderation for any events organised by the central government should all be in Hindi.

• Addresses should be written in Hindi on envelopes of letters to be sent to regions A and B. Region B consists of the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Punjab, and the Union territories of Chandigarh, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli

• More work should be done in Hindi on computers used in central government offices.

• The incentive amount given to officials/ employees of the central government working in Hindi should be increased.

• Provision must be made in government rules so that those joining should know Hindi beforehand. The secretary, Department of Official Language should establish necessary contacts with the various recruitment agencies through the Department of Personnel and Training to ensure this.

• From time to time, reports of Hindi work should be sought from embassies and organisations located abroad, and it should be ensured that their work is monitored.

• Engineering degree holders who have adequate knowledge of Hindi, or are capable of doing Hindi translation work of the required level, should be appointed to the Central Translation Bureau.

• The difference between official and colloquial Hindi should be reduced. Popular words from other languages and other loanwords can be maintained without translations. Translations should be made simple and understandable.

• The propagation of Hindi should not be a matter for the central government only. All state governments should also include it in their constitutional obligations. The committee should be empowered to review the implementation of official language policies in state government offices with the state’s consent. The first phase should start from states located in Region A.

(Edited by Theres Sudeep)

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Source: The Print

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