The CM said that while there was no objection to people speaking other languages, they had to learn Kannada too.

Learning Kannada is a must it is the language of the state Karnataka CM SiddaramaiahFacebook
news Language Sunday, June 11, 2017 - 14:13

Adding his voice to the continuing language debate in the state, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah insisted at an event on Saturday that all people living in the state should learn to speak Kannada.

“We have no objection if people speak Tamil, Telugu, English, Urdu or any other language but learning Kannada is a must. It is the language of the state,” the CM said while inaugurating a school in Bengaluru on Saturday.

He also took a mild dig at Urban Development Minister Roshan Baig for not being able to speak the language fluently yet. 

The CM added that the state government will appoint Kannada teachers in all government schools, including Urdu-medium schools to promote learning of the language.

This is not the first time that Siddaramaiah has raised the issue of learning Kannada. In March, he had criticised a senior IAS officer in the Department of Public Enterprises who had reportedly asked his subordinates to do all official work in English. The CM had then said that action would be taken if the allegations against the IAS officer were true.

 "I will look into it, it is wrong...It cannot be done like that. Each and every officer working in Karnataka should learn Kannada and officiate in Kannada. If this has happened,we will take action," the CM had said.

Incidentally, Karnataka has already passed a law for promoting the language in schools — the Kannada Language Learning Act, 2015, which was passed in April of that year. However, according to reports, the Act has not yet been implemented as the rules have not yet been framed under it.   

Earlier, Karnataka had attempted to make Kannada mandatory as the medium of instruction in primary schools. However, the Supreme Court struck down this decision in 2014.

 "State has no power to compel linguistic minority to impart primary education by compulsorily imposing regional language," a five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by then Chief Justice RM Lodha said.

Kannada is the most commonly spoken language in Karnataka, with 66% of the population conversing in it. According to the 2011 census of India, Urdu is the second most popular language in the state, spoken by 10.54 % of the population, followed by Telugu (7.03%), Tamil (3.57%), Marathi (3.6%), Tulu (3.0%), Hindi (2.56%), Konkani (1.46%), Malayalam (1.33%) and Kodava Takk (0.3%).

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