The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued an advisory asking all airlines to offer newspapers, magazines and other reading materials in both Hindi and English languages to passengers.
The advisory noted that ‘airlines were violating the government policy by not carrying an equal number of both English and Hindi newspapers and magazines for fliers.
“It has been seen Indian aircraft don't carry Hindi newspapers and magazines or carry them in limited numbers,” DGCA's Joint Director General Lalit Gupta said in a letter to airlines.
“This goes against official language policy of Indian Union. Please ensure aircraft carry equal number of Hindi and English newspapers,” the letter added.
Meanwhile, the DGCA’s advisory has come under severe criticism from Congress MP Shahsi Tharoor. "DGCA now wants Hindi publications served on Indian flights (together with vegetarian meals?)!" he tweeted.
Earlier this month, national carrier Air India had decided to stop serving non-vegetarian meals to its economy class passengers on domestic flights. This had also sparked a controversy with political parties linking the decision with religious ideology. However, Air India had later clarified that the decision was taken to cut costs.