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All shops, establishments in Maharashtra asked to display signboards in Marathi

Sources said that the decision on Marathi signboards is Shiv Sena’s attempt to consolidate Marathi vote bank for civic polls, which are likely to be held in the next few months.

Written by Vishwas Waghmode | Mumbai |
January 12, 2022 11:34:10 pm
The amendment mandates shops and establishments with less than 10 workers to display nameplates in Marathi.

Ahead of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporations (BMC) polls, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray-led government has taken a decision mandating all shops and establishments in the state to display signboards in Marathi. The amendment also mandates that the font of the Marathi-Devanagari script cannot be smaller than that of other scripts.

Sources said that the decision on Marathi signboards is Shiv Sena’s attempt to consolidate Marathi vote bank for civic polls, which are likely to be held in the next few months.

The state cabinet chaired by Thackeray on Wednesday approved the amendment to the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 2017. The amendment mandates shops and establishments with less than 10 workers to display nameplates in Marathi.

Subhash Desai, senior Shiv Sena leader and minister for Marathi language, said that after the 2017 law came into force, it was found that establishments and shops with less than 10 workers were evading the rules. “The government had received such complaints and there was a demand for redressal. So, today, the state cabinet decided to amend the 2017 Act to fix the loopholes. Therefore, the boards of small shops will have to be displayed in Marathi just like the big shops,” said Desai.

The minister further said that considering most of the shops and commercial establishments have less than 10 workers, the nameplates on all the shops along the road will be seen in Marathi from now on.

“An amendment also mandates that the letters in Marathi-Devanagari script cannot be kept shorter than letters in other (English or other) scripts,” said Desai, adding that a bill would be tabled in the budget session of the legislature to give effect to the amendment.

In the last two years, the Sena, which is an alliance partner in the state’s ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, has been taking forward its agenda on the Marathi language. Last year in July, the Maharashtra legislature passed the bill amending the Maharashtra Official Language Act 1964 for the effective use of Marathi language in administrative work in all government offices. In February 2020, a bill was passed in the state legislature making Marathi language a compulsory subject from 1st to 10th standard in the schools of all boards.

Sources in Sena said that the party doesn’t do any “lip service” on the issue. “The decisions taken by the government shows our commitment for the Marathi cause. It will certainly help us in elections in consolidating the Marathi people,” said a Sena leader.

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