After the schools in Karnataka, it is now the turn of the banks to be mandated with the criteria of having knowledge of Kannada unless the employees want to lose their jobs.
The decision was taken by the Karnataka Development Authority on Monday as it issued a notice to the regional heads of all banks – nationalized, grameena and private banks – mandating the knowledge of Kannada among bank employees of all ranks and divisions.
According to KDA chairman SG Siddaramaiah:
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.
However, Mr. Siddasramaiah is of the view that despite repeated notices sent to the banks, the bank associations haven’t paid any heed to the matter:
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.
The notice further mandated the banks to set up Kannada learning centers within the premises itself:
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.
The letter circulated among the various banks reads:
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.
In order to ensure swift working of these learning centers, KDA personnel will regularly inspect the same:
These banks lack the sense to take up initiatives. Regular supervision will be done to see if the banks are implementing the rule properly.
According to an employee working in a Bengaluru-based bank, they received the notice on Monday but certain things remain unclear to them all:
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.
However, according to some other employees, they don’t know about the circular at all.