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Government launches new initiative to introduce school students to 22 Indian languages

The Union Government has launched a unique initiative called Bhasha Sangam to introduce school students to 22 Indian languages. The initiative aims to enhance linguistic tolerance and respect and promote national integration.

Nov 30, 2018 10:18 IST
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The Union Government has launched a unique initiative called Bhasha Sangam to introduce school students to 22 Indian languages.

This initiative, which is a part of the Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat programme, was launched on November 22, 2018 and will continue till December 21, 2018.

What is Bhasha Sangam?

Bhasha Sangam is a programme for schools and educational institutions to provide multilingual exposure to students in Indian languages.

The initiative aims to enhance linguistic tolerance and respect and promote national integration.

It also aims to create interest in different Indian languages and instil the curiosity to learn more.

There are 22 languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution but most students are familiar with only one or two languages.

Under Bhasha Sangam, the students will now be familiarised with the other languages.

  Government launches unique initiative ‘Bhasha Sangam’ for school students

Schedule VIII of the Constitution

The Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution lists 22 official languages of the Republic of India.

The languages include Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Kannada, Kashmiri, Konkani, Maithili, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Nepali, Odia, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Santali, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

Among these languages, initially, 14 were included in the Constitution. However, subsequently Sindhi was added in 1967 by 21st constitutional amendment act, Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were added in 1992 by 71st Constitutional Amendment Act and Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santali were added in 2003 by 92nd Constitutional Amendment Act.

At the time when the Constitution was enacted, inclusion in this list meant that the language was entitled to representation on the Official Languages Commission and that the language would be one of the bases that would be drawn upon to enrich Hindi, the official language of the Union.

The list has since, however, acquired further significance. The Indian Government is now aiming to take measures for the development of these languages, such that "they grow rapidly in richness and become effective means of communicating modern knowledge".

A candidate appearing in an examination conducted for the public service is now entitled to use any of the listed 22 languages as the medium to answer the paper.

Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat

  Government launches unique initiative ‘Bhasha Sangam’ for school students

The ‘Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat’ programme was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. Subsequently, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the initiative in his Budget Speech for 2016-17.

The programme aims to actively enhance interaction between people of diverse cultures living in different states and union territories in India, with the objective of promoting greater mutual understanding amongst them.

As per the programme, each year, every state/UT would be paired with another state/UT in India for reciprocal interaction between the people.

It is envisaged that through this exchange, the knowledge of the language, culture, traditions and practices of different states will lead to an enhanced understanding and bonding between one another, thereby strengthening the unity and integrity of India.

For the same, the government has drawn up an indicative list of activities and circulated to the state governments, UT administrations and to the key central ministries.

The paired states and UTs are to enter into MoUs with each other to carry out common activities under the programme.

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