Karnataka govt brings up wide-ranging measures to promote Kannada in the new bill. Apart from giving importance to language in education and communication, the draft bill stresses teaching speaking and writing Kannada to non-Kannadigas working in the state.
Bill on making Kannada compulsory
In an intent to promote Kannada, the Basavaraj Bommai-led government has proposed that companies that do not give first priority to Kannadigas in jobs will not be eligible for sops and incentives.
The proposal has been included in the proposed Kannada Language Comprehensive Development Bill, which is expected to be tabled and passed in the ongoing monsoon session of the legislature.
“The proposed bill is also expected to be presented in the upcoming cabinet meeting and will be passed,” confirmed a senior Karnataka minister.
Apart from giving importance to language in education and communication, this draft bill emphasizes teaching speaking and writing Kannada to non-Kannadigas working in the state.
The CM made the announcement after JDS members directed a protest against the imposition of the Hindi language on Wednesday which was also observed as Hindi Divas across the country. The CM said no one can demand the imposition of any language in the state besides Kannada and even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told that all regional languages are national languages.
“Our government is not just committed to safeguarding Kannada, but also to promote it. In Karnataka, when it comes to land, water, language, and people, we have kept politics aside and taken a collective decision even in the past,” he said. The CM said there have been demands for making Kannada mandatory all these years.
So who is a Kannadiga?
The proposed bill says a ‘Kannadiga’ is described as a person who is a domiciled citizen for “not less than 15 years” and has learned to read, write and speak Kannada as a language up to Class 10. This is in line with the Sarojini Mahishi report submitted in 1984, which had made 58 suggestions to protect Kannada and Kannadigas.
The Mahishi report suggested 100% reservation of jobs for Kannadigas in all public sector units, in Group ‘C’ and Group ‘D’ jobs in Central government and public sector undertakings (PSU) functioning in Karnataka. It also suggested a certain percentage of jobs to Kannadigas in PSUs, private companies, and multinational companies.
The draft bill proposes several changes. Here are some of the important ones:
- The bill proposes the use of Kannada as the state’s official language for all communication and bills that are presented in the state legislature. All ordinances promulgated by the Karnataka governor, and orders issued by the government, departments, industries, and co-operative societies should be in Kannada.
- “It is mandated that all lower courts, state tribunals, and quasi-judicial bodies should transact proceedings and issue orders in Kannada,” the bill states. However, the draft bill has also made provisions for the use of English in legal proceedings.
- All nameplates across the state should be in Kannada as well program brochures and banners of the government and its funded organizations should be printed in the state’s language.
- Emphasis should be given to teaching ‘functional Kannada” to all technical and professional education students, who have not taken Kannada as a subject till Class 10 (SSLC), the bill states.
- It also adds that those students who have not learned Kannada as part of their school education should be given additional classes to understand the “Kannada culture and ethos”.
- If a person applying for a government job is found to have not taken Kannada as a first or second language in Class 10, along with other specified qualifications, he/she will have to take an equivalent Kannada test organized by the state public service commission to qualify. The draft bill has further recommended that workshops be held to teach Kannada to non-Kannada speakers in all state and central establishments with more than 100 employees.