Department of Official Language

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Context:

  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh chaired first review meeting of the Department of Official  Language of MHA to discuss the functioning and  issues related to implementation of Hindi language in official work.

About Department of Official Language:

  • With a view to ensuring compliance of the constitutional and legal provisions regarding official language and to promote the use of Hindi for the official purposes of the Union, the Department of Official Language was set up in June 1975 as an independent Department of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Since then, this Department has been making efforts for accelerating the progressive use of Hindi for the official purposes of the Union.
  • Functions of Department Official Language:
  • Implementing the provisions of the Constitution relating to the Official Language and the provisions of the Official Languages Act, 1963 (19 of 1963), except to the extent such implementation has been assigned to any other Department.
  • Nodal responsibility for all matters relating to the progressive use of Hindi as the Official Language of the Union including Hindi Teaching Scheme for Central Government Employees and publication of magazines, journals & other literature related thereto.
  • Co-ordination in all matters relating to the progressive use of Hindi as the Official Language of the Union, including administrative terminology, syllabi, textbooks, training courses and equipment (with standardised script) required therefor.

Constitutional provisions:

  • Part 17 of the constitution of India (Articles 343 to Article 351) makes elaborate provisions dealing with the official language of the Republic of India.
  • The main provisions dealing with the official language of the Union are embodied in Articles 343 and 344 of the Constitution of India. The Official languages have been listed in the 8th schedule of Constitution of India.

Official language of union:

  • Hindi written in Devanagari script is the Official Language of the Union. 
  • The original constitution provided that for a period of 15 years from the commencement of the constitution, English will continue to be used for all official purposes of the Union.

The constitution made it clear that President may, during the said period, by order authorize the use of the Hindi language in addition to the English language and of the Devanagari form of numerals in addition to the international form of Indian numerals for any of the official purposes of the Union.

  • The constitution also makes it clear that even after 15 years, the Parliament by law may provide for the continued use of English for any specific purpose.
  • The constitution has put all authority in the hands of the central government both for formulating and implementing the language policy.
  • It is also special responsibility of the centre to develop and spread the official language (Hindi) of the union (art. 351).

Source:PIB & Laxmikanth