The President has given “in principle” approval to the recommendation made by a Parliamentary panel that the “HRD Ministry needs to make credible efforts for making Hindi a compulsory subject” and Hindi should be “compulsorily taught in all CBSE schools and Kendriya Vidyalayas until Class X”. “The Central government should discuss with the state governments and form a policy,” a Presidential order, dated March 31, stated.
The HRD Ministry has been asked to “encourage” institutes that do not have Hindi department to open such departments. The panel, set up under the Official Languages Act, had submitted its ninth set of recommendations to the President in 2011. These were sent to different ministries and state governments for their comments.
Of the total 117 recommendations to promote the use of Hindi in various spheres of public life, the government has rejected and modified many. Accepted recommendations include one which “stresses” that “those holding top government posts, especially those who read and speak Hindi, give their speeches/statements in Hindi. This category includes the President and all ministers”.
Among the significant ones rejected include a recommendation that “proper efforts to be made for implementing Article 102 of the Constitution for using Hindi/mother tongue in Parliament”, and a recommendation that sought the “withdrawal of government recognition” of schools that do not “impart primary education in Hindi or mother tongue”.
The government also rejected “penal provision” for failure to implement the Official Language Act, besides a recommendation that companies that have “shares of people and the government” use Hindi as per the Official Language Act.
Accepted ones include equal honorarium for guest speakers at Hindi workshops organised by ministries at par with speakers at workshops on other subjects; Hindi translators and co-announcers of Akashvani be given salary at par with translators of foreign languages like French, Nepalese; filling vacancies for the post of Hindi officers in various departments, introducing the option of writing answers and giving interviews in Hindi in higher education institutions of non-Hindi speaking states, and in central services, Railway purchase of only those electronic equipment that also have the facility to work in Devnagari, tickets of Railways and Air India to also have information in Hindi, and Hindi as an option to write answers in all UPSC examinations.
Among the rejected recommendations are the introduction of a column in ACRs of government employees about the monthly targets made and achieved for Hindi; a column in ACR about their “ability to write columns etc in Hindi”; minimum knowledge of Hindi for government jobs, and a provision to introduce Hindi examination for those seeking jobs in central departments.
Some recommendations have been modified. The original recommendation that the Ministry of External Affairs make a “time-bound programme to make Hindi a language of the UN” and implement it has been modified with the caveat that the ministry make a “budget estimate” for this scheme and then “deliberate over preparing the programme”. The recommendation that “products of all companies” should carry details in Hindi has been modified and made obligatory only for government, quasi-government companies and organisations.