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Language debate: Soon, president, prime minister and Cabinet ministers to deliver speeches in Hindi only

The president, prime minister, and all Cabinet ministers will soon deliver speeches and issue statements only in Hindi. This will soon become a reality, after President Pranab Mukherjee gave his assent to the recommendations made by the Parliamentary Committee on Official Languages.

According to a report in India Today, the government is also expected to simplify many Hindi words for better communication. But while accepting these recommendations, Mukherjee rejected some other suggestions made by the committee. One of them is the mandatory use of Hindi for correspondence in public shareholding companies and all private companies for providing information about products in Hindi.

According to The Times of India, the move is seen as an attempt by the Centre to encourage the use of Hindi for official work. "All dignitaries including Hon'ble President and all the ministers especially who can read and speak Hindi may be requested to give their speech/statement in Hindi only," the report said.

President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

File image of President Pranab Mukherjee. PTI

The report claimed that every Hindi speech/statement will be accompanied by a English translation. This will be in contrast to the existing system, wherein ministers issue statements in English, which is supplemented with a Hindi version.

Currently, states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan conduct their official business in Hindi. The new rule is expected to impact the working of Union ministries.

The Economic Times reported that the notification has been sent to the Prime Minister's Office, Union ministries and states for compliance. The statutory parliamentary panel had submitted its ninth report making these recommendations in 2011 under the tenure of the then Home Minister P Chidambaram.

However, it is interesting to note that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with most of his ministers. do speak in Hindi while conducting business of the House. The parliamentary panel's 2011 report made 117 recommendations. While many were accepted by the president, some could not make the cut.

The Economic Times report said that Mukherjee also accepted the recommendation to provide more Hindi newspapers and magazines on Air India flights, since the report inferred that the language was being neglected by the national carrier. It also recommended printing of Air India tickets in Hindi. However, the recommendation setting a minimum level of knowledge of Hindi to qualify for a government job was rejected.

The president "in principle" also accepted the recommendation to extend Hindi as a compulsory subject until Standard X in all CBSE and Kendriya Vidyalaya schools across India. However, the final decision will be taken only after consultations with respective state governments.

The Times of India reported that the president also rejected the recommendation to create posts related to Hindi language promotion in every ministry and spend more funds on Hindi advertisements.

Updated Date: Apr 18, 2017 12:16 PM

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