The new rule will come into effect immediately, and many banks have already asked their employees to start learning Kannada.

Learn Kannada in six months or lose your job Kannada development body tells bank employeesPTI/ Representation Photo
news Language Issue Tuesday, August 08, 2017 - 12:44

After schools, it’s banks in Karnataka that have to mandatorily adopt Kannada.

The Kannada Development Authority, on Monday, issued a notice to the regional heads of nationalised, private and grameena banks, making it compulsory for bank employees to learn the language.

These banks employees are likely to lose their jobs if they do not learn Kannada in six months.

“We have given them six months to learn Kannada. We have directed the regional heads to relive those employees who do not know Kannada even after the six-month deadline,” KDA chairman SG Siddaramaiah told TNM.

According to the KDA Chairman, despite repeated notices sent to banks, they have not shown interest in implementing Kannada.

“None of these banks pay attention to this issue. Most of the people across the state know Kannada only. We have to think about them. The fact that these banks have not respected the local language cannot be ignored as it may lead to future conflicts. Banks have to take measure to ensure that their employees learn Kannada immediately,” Siddaramaiah said.

The banks have been directed to set up Kannada learning centres within the branch premises.

“Currently, they have forms and challans in Hindi and English. They have to ensure that the three-language formula is followed strictly even in advertisements and annual reports. People should be able to fill out forms in Kannada. This is very important in grameena banks as they cater to the rural population,” Siddaramaiah added.

“Banks have to follow the three-language policy according to the Reserve Bank of India. While hiring employees in Karnataka, banks must ensure that they know Kannada. If they do not, they have to learn the language within six months. If not, they will have to be relieved from duty. This rule must be followed strictly,” the KDA Chairman’s letter states.

SG Siddaramaiah also said regular visits will be conducted by KDA personnel to banks to supervise the progress.

“These banks lack the sense to take up initiatives. Regular supervision will be done to see if the banks are implementing the rule properly,” he added.

According to Ranjit* an employee at a bank based in Bengaluru, the employees were informed of the new policy on Tuesday morning.

“I don’t know Kannada. We have been informed that learning Kannada is compulsory. However, we still don’t know if they are going to arrange for classes or if we have to learn it ourselves. They should inform us soon enough. My wife is also a bank employee and she knows Kannada. I should be able to pick up the basics with her help,” Ranjit said.

However, a few employees that TNM spoke to said that they have not been informed of the new rule yet.

Read: On Hindi imposition, Kannada pride and the three-language policy: KDA Chairman talks to TNM


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