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Kannada Bill to Provide More Opportunities for Kannadigas in Education and Employment

PTI, September 23, 2022, 08:03 IST

Coming up with far-reaching measures for the overall development and promotion of Kannada at various levels, the Karnataka government on Thursday introduced a bill to the Assembly providing for reservations for Kannadigas in higher education and vocational courses, and linking any concessions or subsidies for industries with jobs for residents.

The bill defines Kannadiga as a person or his or her parents or, in their absence, a legal guardian who has habitually resided in Karnataka for at least 15 years and is able to read and write Kannada; and proposes penal provisions in case of violation of the rules.

The bill was introduced by Kannada and Minister of Culture V Sunil Kumar in the Assembly.

The bill noted that Kannada had been adopted as the official language of Karnataka and that the state had enacted the Official Language of Karnataka Act, the Karnataka Local Authorities (Official Language) Act, the Local Authorities Act of Kannada Development and the Kannada Language Learning Act. organization called Kannada Development Authority (KDA).

“Despite the aforementioned decrees, notifications and ordinances, there is not much progress in the proper implementation of the official language in the state. Kannada language has been introduced as one of the language subjects in schools, but there is no proper provision for learning Kannada language in higher, technical or vocational education,” the bill states.

Due to lack of coordination between different departments, there is failure in implementation and usage of Kannada language in offices, industries, shops and establishments etc. The aforementioned acts do not provide a comprehensive mechanism to implement Kannada as an official language. Even the Kannada Development Authority, although a statutory body does not have the proper authority and mechanisms to ensure the implementation of Kannada as an official language at all levels.

There will be an approximate recurrent expenditure of around Rs 3.21 crore per proposed legislation.

Kannada will be taught in higher, technical and vocational education courses, the bill says. Students who have studied in Kannada language from class 1 to 10 in Karnataka or in Kannada middle schools in any other state will be awarded the reservation percentage in higher, technical and vocational education notified by the state government .

He also stated that no industry, establishment or private institution will be eligible for land grant or any other tax refund or tax deferral grant or any type of grant unless it provides at least the percentage of reservation in Kannadigas as per the industrial policy notified by the State.

The bill further makes it mandatory to pass the Kannada exam to get government jobs, however, those who have passed class 10 with Kannada as their first or second language are exempt. It also requires the government to establish a job portal for government offices, public enterprises and private enterprises to notify vacancies.

According to the Bill, District Courts or Magistrate Courts, as the case may be, and Courts shall conduct proceedings and pronounce orders and judgments in Kannada.

While making Kannada mandatory in program brochures, banners of the government and its funded organizations, the bill stipulates that it should also be the primary language in all name signs.

He also said that Kannada teaching units should be set up to teach Kannada to non-Kannada speakers in industrial establishments, state or central government offices with more than 100 employees.

The bill specifies that any breach or negligence on the part of an officer in the application of the official language will be considered a breach of duty and will be subject to disciplinary measures.

If a trader or commercial establishment is involved in any violation such as disregard of giving precedence to Kannada in name signs, he will be liable to a fine of up to Rs 5,000 for the first offense and up to 10,000 rupees for the second offence.

Later, the offender is liable to a fine of up to 20,000 rupees, after issuing a notice, in addition, there is also a provision for cancellation of the license.

According to the bill, Kannada shall be the official language of the state and local authorities, in all bills and acts of the state legislature, ordinances, rules, regulations or orders issued by the government and its related organs.

The Kannada language must be used for all official and administrative purposes and correspondence in the state. All existing legislation in the English language enacted by the State before the entry into force of this Act shall be translated and published in Kannada.

The bill proposes that there should be an enforcement mechanism for the implementation of the official language and proposes committees at state, district and taluk levels.

The State Committee will have the Minister of Kannada and Culture as Chairman and the Chief Secretary as Deputy Chairman. The Directorate of Kannada and Culture is also the Directorate of Official Language Enforcement.

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