Highlights

Recently States Cabinet of Assam chaired by Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, approved the Amendment bill to make Bodo an official language of the Assam state. The Amendment bill has been framed in accordance to the Bodo Peace Accord signed between the Central Government, State Government of Assam, four Bodo rebel groups and two Bodo organizations.

India’s Official Language

There is no National language of the country. The article 343 of the Constitution of India says that the official language of Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari. Business in Indian Parliament shall be transacted only in Hindi or English. English is allowed to use for official purposes such as parliamentary proceedings, communication between Central and state governments, Judiciary Communications in India.

In addition to the official languages, constitution recognises 22 regional languages. This includes Hindi but not English. Therefore, in India English is neither an official language nor a scheduled language. It is simply a language for communication solving the official purposes.

Assam’s Official language

Assam state official language is Assamese. The additional official languages are Bengali and Bodo. Bengali is official language in 3-districts of Barak Valley and Bodo in Bodoland territorial Council areas.

The Assamese language movement

This movement refers to a series of political activities that demanded the recognition of Assamese language as an official language. The struggle began in 19th century when the region was under British India. The Assamese resented the use of Bengali language as a language of courts and also for official purposes since the British India. After the State Reorganisation Act of 1956, the Assam Sahitya Sabha demanded the use of Assamese as official language in the state. The inclusion of Assamese language in the eighth schedule of constitution helped to increase a sense of confidence for the movement.

On 24th October 1960, Assam official language Act, 1960 was passed recognising Assamese as an official language in Assam. This act also included provisions for the safeguard of linguistic minorities in the state. In the year 2019, the Assam Cabinet approved to make Assamese the State Language.

Backdrop

As per the 2011 Census, there are more than 14.16 lakh (1.416 million) people speaking Bodo language in the state of Assam. They account to 4.53 per cent of the total population of the state.

The Other Approvals

  • The state cabinet of Assam also approved to setup the Bodo Kachari Autonomous Council. This is also a part of Bodo Accord signed in January by 2020.
  • State cabinet also approved to increase the service age of all National Health Mission (NHM) employees to 60 years.
  • State cabinet approved the Career Progression Scheme for doctors serving as faculty members in Assam medical colleges.
  • The state cabinet of Assam also approved a loan of Rupees 91 crores of from NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development) under the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).

Issues associated with the Bodos

The Bodos are ethnic communities demanding separate land. The entire Bodoland issue has its roots to 1930s.

Assam Official Language Amendment Bill 2020 Assam Official Language Amendment Bill 2020