Passports Will Now Be Issued In Both Hindi & English Languages; But, Is Hindi India’s National Language?
In India, there are 22 officially recognised languages. Around 14.5-24.5% of Indian citizens speak the Hindi language, while 45% of overall Indians speak one or other dialects of Hindi, such as Awadhi, Bhojpuri etc.
Still, till now, passports were only issued in the English language.
But not anymore.
In one of the strongest push for regional languages, Govt. of India has declared that passports would be now issued in both Hindi and English languages.
This announcement was made by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, during an event to mark 50 years of the Passport Act, 1967.
During the event, the Minister said that directions have been sent to the official printing press in Nasik, from where all passports are printed.
While announcing this new development, the Minister compared India with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Germany and Russia, where passports are issued in their mother language.
She said, “We often receive complaints as to why our passports are only in English. When all Arab countries have their passports in Arabic and Germans and Russians have it in their own languages, why can’t we have ours in Hindi?”
Besides, a special 10% discount on passport application fees have been announced, which shall be applicable for children below 8 years, and senior citizens above 60 years.
The Minister also admitted that there are some rules for passport issuance, which are “unnecessary, obsolete or impractical”, and the Ministry will work towards simplifying them.
She said that right now, any citizen can apply for a passport based on Aadhar card, PAN card or ration card, voter identification card besides a self-attested letter that he/she does not have any criminal complaint against him/her.
But, she also pointed out that the process of police verification does take time. She hinted that a major reform can be announced in this matter. She asked all state governments to take inspiration from states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Delhi, Chandigarh, Gujarat and Goa, where police verification is done within 6 days.
But.. is Hindi India’s Official Language?
In 2010, a bench at Gujarat High Court observed that there exists to law or provision which states that Hindi is the National Language or an Official Language of India.
While hearing a PIL to enforce a law stating Hindi printing of good’s details on every product, division bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice A.S. Dave observed, “Normally, in India, majority of the people have accepted Hindi as a national language and many people speak Hindi and write in Devanagari script but there is nothing on record to suggest that any provision has been made or order issued declaring Hindi as a national language of the country.”
The PIL was rejected on this ground.
Do you think that availability of passports in Hindi will make it easier for Indian citizens to travel aboard? Should passport be available in all 22 officially recognised languages of India?
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