Mooting wide-ranging measures for comprehensive development and promotion of Kannada at different levels, the Karnataka government on Thursday introduced a bill in the Assembly providing reservation to Kannadigas in higher education and professional courses, and linking any concessions or grant-in-aid for industries with jobs for locals.
The bill defines Kannadiga as a person or his parents or in their absence legal guardian who is/are ordinarily resident of Karnataka for not less than 15 years and having knowledge of reading and writing Kannada; and proposes penal provisions in case of violations of rules.
The bill was introduced by Kannada and Culture Minister V Sunil Kumar in the Assembly.
The bill noted that Kannada has been adopted as Karnataka’s official language and the state has enacted the Karnataka Official Language Act, Karnataka Local Authorities (Official Language) Act, Kannada Development Authorities Act and the Kannada Language Learning Act, and the state also has a statutory body called Kannada Development Authority (KDA).
“Despite aforesaid enactments, notifications and orders, there is not much progress in proper implementation of the official Language in the State. The Kannada Language has been introduced as one of the Language subjects in Schools but there is no proper provision for learning of Kannada Language in the Higher or Technical or Professional Education,” the bill states.
Due to lack of coordination between various departments, there is a failure in implementation and usage of Kannada language in offices, industries, shops and establishment etc, it said The aforesaid acts do not provide comprehensive mechanism to implement Kannada as an official language. Even the Kannada Development Authority, though a statutory body has no proper authority and machinery to ensure implementation of Kannada as official language at all level.
There will be an approximate recurring expenditure of around Rs 3.21 crore by proposed legislative measure.
Kannada will be taught in higher, technical and professional education courses, the bill said. Students who have studied in Kannada medium from class 1 to 10 in Karnataka or in Kannada Medium Schools in any other States shall be provided such percentage of reservation in higher, technical and professional education as may be notified by the state government.
It also stated that no private industry, establishment or institution shall be eligible for concession of land or any other concession of tax rebate or deferment of tax or any kind of grant-in aid unless they provide not less than such percentage of reservation to Kannadigas as per the industrial policy notified by the State.
The bill further mandates passing in Kannada exam to get a government job, however, those who passed Class 10 with Kannada as first or second language are exempted. It also requires the government to establish an employment portal for government offices, public enterprises, and private companies to notify vacancies.
As per the bill, the District Courts or Trial Courts as the case may be and Tribunals shall conduct proceedings and pronounce the orders and judgments in Kannada.
While mandating Kannada in programme brochures, banners of government and its funded organisations, the bill said it will have to be the main language in all name boards too.
It also said 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 makes it clear that any lapse or negligence on part of an officer to implement the official language will be considered as dereliction of duty and will be subjected to disciplinary action.
If any shopkeeper or commercial establishment is involved in any violation like showing disregard for giving primacy to Kannada in name boards he will be subjected to a penalty of up to Rs 5,000 for the first offence and up to Rs 10,000 for the second offence.
Later, offender is liable for a fine up to Rs 20,000, after issuing notice, besides there is also provision for cancellation of license.
According to the bill, Kannada shall be the official language of the state and local authorities, in all bills and acts at the state legislature, orders, rules, regulations or bye-laws issued by the government and its related bodies.
Kannada language shall be used for all the official and administrative purposes and correspondences in the State. All existing legislations in English language enacted by the State before the commencement of this Act shall be translated and published in Kannada.
The bill proposes that there shall be an enforcement mechanism for implementing official language and proposes for state, district and taluk level committees.
The state committee will have the Minister of Kannada and Culture as Chairperson and Chief Secretary as Vice-Chairperson. The Directorate of Kannada and Culture shall also be the Directorate of Enforcement of the Official Language.