As the debate over Hindi imposition continues, a pro-Kannada organisation — Kannada Grahakara Koota — has released a study that shows that more than a hundred central government websites are not available in regional languages like Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi and Bengali.
The study surveyed 155 government websites and found that only four were available in multiple regional languages. The websites of the Prime Minister's Office (https://www.pmindia.gov.in/),
"It is not an issue of technology. The general public is unable to consume official government websites and applications in any language other than English and Hindi," explains Arun Javagal, a member of Koota.
The guidelines for Indian government websites compiled by the National Informatics Center, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology also stated that "ideally, all the pages on the website should be translated in Hindi and regional languages."
"In case it is becoming difficult to do so, departments should identify the content that is widely accessed by the public and begin to put up such content in multiple languages. It must be ensured that documents/pages must be updated in multiple languages simultaneously so that there are no inconsistencies at any point," reads a section of the guidelines.
In 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked all central ministries to make their websites available in all officially recognised Indian languages.
However, the survey by Kannada Grahakara Koota suggests that steps to implement this have not yet been taken.
In addition, the survey also noted that among 62 government mobile applications, only seven apps were available in any two or more regional languages considered for the survey. Over 88% of the applications were unavailable in regional languages.
On Monday, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) released a revised draft of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2019 after facing backlash for making the study of Hindi mandatory in non-Hindi speaking states.
Politicians and citizens, particularly in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, had criticised the central government for imposing Hindi upon states.