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MNS effect: state tells central govt offices to use Marathi and Devanagari script

Thursday, December 07, 2017
By Prashant Hamine

Following a terse warning from Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) president Raj Thackeray at a rally in Thane city on November 19 asking banks to use Marathi language in their transactions, the state government yesterday reissued a Circular of the Central Government on the use of regional language and Devanagari script along with English and Hindi by Central Governments field offices and establishments in the state. The Circular states that Central Government offices, Corporations and Public Sector Undertakings in the state of Maharashtra have to “use the Marathi language and Devanagari script in all correspondences, communications and in oral and written transactions and interaction with the people in the State of Maharashtra”.

The Circular further states that “use of the Marathi language and Devanagari script in all the instructions, public notices, notice boards, indicators and name-plates is to be displayed for the information of the general public in the state of Maharashtra. Marathi language and Devanagari script is to be used in all pro-forma, forms, application forms, reservation forms, passenger tickets, all bank and post slips, all public related documents which are provided by the Central Government offices and establishments in the state.

The Marathi language is to be used in all offline and online services provided for the people in the state. Marathi language shall be used in arrival and departure indicators and departure indicators and time table of the railway trains, metro, mono-rail and flights, train name boards, coach or bogie numbers, name of stations, terminals, ports and airports, notice and instruction boards and public announcements systems in the state.

The Central Government offices should incorporate regional language in the service rules of its officers and employees and make provisions in recruitment rules about the mandatory qualification of the Marathi language. The Circular further states that Marathi language workshops and training programmes for the offices and employees should be held in these central government offices and establishments in the state. It also further adds that Marathi language and Devanagari script should be used along with English and Hindi languages in all written and oral examinations which are conducted at the time of appointments of the various posts in all central government offices.

However, the Marathi-English nine page Government Circular (GC) issued by the Marathi Language department states, “It is hereby, a kind request.... to please bring to the notice these instructions to all its (Central Government) field offices and establishments and make endeavour to use the Marathi language in their offices and establishments”. The words “request” and “please” in the Circular raise questions over whether it will be enforced in reality. Moreover, the Circular however, does not include signboards on shops.

The government argues that as per the tri-language formula of the Central Government, it has been mandatory to use Regional language, that is Marathi language along with English and Hindi in all offices and establishments of the Central Government in the state of Maharashtra, that provide services  like banking, telephone, post, insurance, railway, metro, mono-rail, airline, gas, petroleum, taxation and others.

The Circular is addressed to all the Central Government field offices and establishments also includes High Court, Reserve Bank of India, Railways. The state government has drawn the attention to the Maharashtra Official Languages Act, 1964 and the Amendment Act, 2015 which underscores “Marathi” as the states official language and its jurisdiction is to the whole of Maharashtra. It has also drawn the attention of the Central Government field offices and establishments to the Central Governments office orders of June 18, 1977 and July 1, 2010.

The state government adds that it has been noticed that excluding the state government offices, the central government offices in the state are not using Marathi language effectively along with English and Hindi. Besides this, the state government has also been receiving instructions from public representatives and the general public on inclusion of Marathi language in the examinations of Central Governments Railways, Post, Banks and other offices.

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