KANNADA LANGUAGE BILL 2024 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     14th February 2024        
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Context: The Karnataka government recently tabled a bill mandating Kannada on business signboards.

Kannada Language Comprehensive Development (Amendment) Bill, 2024

  • About: The Kannada Language Comprehensive Development (Amendment) Bill, 2024 aims to modify the existing 2022 Act, emphasizing increased usage of Kannada on signboards.
  • Signage Requirements: According to the bill, signboards must allocate 60% of space to Kannada, positioned in the upper half of the name board, impacting diverse sectors like commercial, industrial, and business establishments, trusts, counseling centers, hospitals, laboratories, amusement centers, and hotels.
  • Mandate for Entities: Commercial entities are obligated to display 60% of their signage in Kannada, pending approval from government or local authorities.
  • Institutional Changes: The Bill proposes appointing the director of the Directorate of Kannada and Culture as a committee member and designates the secretary of the Kannada Development Authority as the convener of the "State Level Committee."
  • State-Level Committee: The newly formed committee, headed by the secretary of the Kannada Development Authority, will function as an enforcement authority overseeing the implementation of the official language.
  • Ordinance Rejection: The Governor of Karnataka returned the January 5 ordinance, suggesting the Karnataka government pursue the bill's passage through the Assembly instead of resorting to an ordinance.
  • Trigger for Ordinance Proposal: The decision to propose the ordinance was prompted by violent demonstrations by pro-Kannada groups on December 27, targeting businesses in Bengaluru for allegedly neglecting the state language.
  • Fringe Group Actions: On December 27, a fringe language group vandalized numerous business establishments across the city, demanding a 60% usage of Kannada on signboards.
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