Local gets vocal in Rajya Sabha! Use of regional languages in Upper House rises five-fold

By: |
January 16, 2021 9:43 PM

The use of regional languages in the proceedings of Rajya Sabha has increased manifold times during 2018-2020

The use of regional languages in the proceedings of Rajya Sabha has increased manifold times during 2018-2020 with Sanskrit emerging as the fifth widely used among the 22 scheduled languages after Hindi, Telugu, Urdu and Tamil. Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has been regularly urging the members of the House on use of regional languages during the proceedings.

According to a research done by the Rajya Sabha secretariat, while Hindi and English are the widely used languages during the proceedings of the House, the use of 21 other scheduled Indian languages (other than Hindi) has increased to over five times (512 per cent) per sitting in 2020 over that of the 14-year period between 2004 and 2017.

During this period, four languages – Dogri, Kashmiri, Konkani and Sonthali – have been used for the first time since the Rajya Sabha came into being in 1952 and another six languages – Assamese, Bodo, Gujarati, Maithili, Manipuri and Nepali – have been used after a long gap.

Rajya Sabha members spoke in 10 scheduled languages (other than Hindi) in the House on 269 occasions during 923 sittings between 2004 and 2017 at the rate of 0.291 per sitting, the Rajya Sabha secretariat said.

In 2020, 49 interventions in regional languages were made during 33 sittings at the rate of 1.49 per sitting, marking an increase to 512 per cent.

During 2013 to 2017 spanning over 329 sittings, members spoke only in 10 regional languages (other than Hindi) on 96 times, all limited to debates. However, during 2018-20 with 163 sittings, regional languages were used 135 times including 66 interventions in debates, 62 Zero Hour and seven special mentions.

After becoming the Chairman of Rajya Sabha in August 2017, Naidu has been urging the members of the House to speak in their respective mother tongue in the spirit of the federal nature of the House.

While announcing the availability of simultaneous interpretation facilities in all the 22 scheduled languages in July 2018, he himself spoke in 10 languages in the House.

The number of times the regional languages (other than Hindi) were used during 2013-17 (329 sittings) and 2018-20 (163 sittings) respectively were – Tamil (32 and 18), Telugu (19 and 33), Urdu (19 and 24), Bengali (6 and 17), Sanskrit (0 and 12), Marathi (3 and 6), Odiya (5 and 6), Kannada (2 and 5), Punjabi (2 and 3), Malyayalam (2 and 0) and Assamese (0 and 2).

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