In a move aimed at increasing the use and influence of the Hindi language, speeches by central and state government ministers could soon be delivered only in Hindi if the recommendations of a parliamentary panel go on to be implemented.
The move, which was recently accepted by President Pranab Mukherjee recently, would be an extreme deviation from the current norms where most speeches by the President and central ministers are in English, accompanied on occasions by a Hindi translation.
President Mukherjee accepted the recommendation of the Committee of Parliament on Official Languages for speeches to be delivered only in Hindi by dignitaries, including the President and ministers if they can read and speak the language.
“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,” read the recommendation made by the committee headed by former Union minister P Chidambaram in 2011.
While Hindi-speaking states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan conduct official business predominantly in Hindi, speeches by central government functionaries, file work and statements are predominantly in English.
Mukherjee’s term ends in July and the next President could be making his/her speeches in Hindi alone. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet almost invariably speak in Hindi.
Other recommendations accepted by President Mukherjee include usage of Hindi on Air India tickets and having Hindi magazines and newspapers on board for passengers as Hindi is “grossly neglected by airlines”.
The civil aviation ministry has been asked to restrict this only to the state-owned airline, though the recommendation was to enforce it for all Indian carriers.
On the contrary, the rejected recommendations include mandatory use of Hindi for correspondence in public shareholding companies and all private companies to provide product information in Hindi and product name in Devnagri.