LS secretariat adds all major Indian languages in course for lawmakers

New Delhi: A course on select languages organized by the Lok Sabha secretariat for lawmakers and their families has expanded to include almost all major Indian languages including Sanskrit, following suggestions from MPs that their own mother tongues be included.

A parliamentary bulletin issued on June 10 said Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Telugu and Odiya and as many foreign languages would be taught online.The month-long programme planned by the Lok Sabha secretariat is aimed at providing basic understanding of the language that may come in handy when inter-parliamentary delegations visit different countries.

Two officials directly familiar with the matter said many lawmakers called up the Lok Sabha secretariat to request inclusion of other Indian languages. “The issue reached the Lok Sabha Speaker’s office. It was decided to accommodate all the requests,” said one official who asked not to be named.

Now, with 21 Indian and six foreign languages, the online programme starting Tuesday, will be the biggest in the history of Parliament. It has also been thrown open to MLAs across the country and parliament officials.

The courses are aimed at giving some understanding of the language to the lawmakers and officials as this may come in handy when inter-parliamentary delegations visit different countries. But with inclusion of so many languages, the officials are not sure if all courses will see high attendance. The courses would be conducted by faculty from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia. This is the first such training programme in the recent history of parliament.

“(Courses in) All Indian Languages under the Eighth Schedule of Indian Constitution will be organized as part of the programme”, said the revised notice. Classes in Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odia, Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Sanskrit, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi, Urdu, Santhali, Nepali, Meitei (Manipuri), Bodo, Dogri, Konkani, Maithili and Punjabi will be taught.

The foreign language courses offered are French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The officials cited in the first instance said Mandarinhas been deliberately left out as a consequence of the recent developments in Ladakh Theatre where the armies of the two countries continue to face off. A senior Opposition MP who asked not to be named said it should have been included as “it is the most important language for 21st century from geostrategic and other perspectives. For Indians, Chinese has more value that learning Portuguese or even Spanish.”

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