New Delhi: The Union environment ministry Friday issued detailed guidelines asking its officials to strictly use Hindi in official orders, publishing codes or manuals and having a bilingual official website.
The 16-point guideline asks officials to ensure they reply to letters in Hindi in the same language.
The directions have already been sent to all divisions or organizations affiliated with the ministry to encourage Hindi usage.
“The directive is for all offices connected to environment ministry including all the affiliated organizations. One of the main reasons behind the order is to maximize the reach of environment ministry’s policies and orders. English is not everyone’s preferred language,” said an environment ministry official, who did not wish to be named.
The official said this is in addition to the Hindi week that government departments celebrate in September.
The order said that the official who is supposed to sign on official documents should not do it until he has a set of papers in English and Hindi, and even the department preparing copies of official orders should not do it until it has a copy in both languages.
The order says those distributing official orders or papers should ensure that the Hindi version is kept above the English version.
It also passed several directions including writing headings on official registers, addresses on envelopes and file covers in both languages.
Also, Hindi fonts should be downloaded from the official website rather than buying them separately for individual systems.
It said the ministry should ensure publication of forms, codes, manuals, official memorandums, rubber stamps, name plates, information boards, citizen charters in both English and Hindi. It also suggested that the ministry’s advertisements are issued in both languages.
For the ministry’s website, the order said while they are uploading content in English, the Hindi version should be prepared and uploaded simultaneously.
Since coming to power in May 2014, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has seen controversies over the use of Hindi.
In September 2014, the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), constituents of NDA, protested against a home ministry circular to varsities that Hindi be taught along with English as a primary language, calling it another attempt to “impose” Hindi and sought its immediate withdrawal.
Usage of Hindi is a sensitive issue in Tamil Nadu. DMK, under its founder C.N. Annadurai, had successfully led the anti-Hindi agitation in 1965.
Recently in February 2016, during the first week of the budget session, the use of Hindi as a political tool was visible when NDA ministers chose to speak in Hindi to put across the message of nationalism.