Direction issued by CS many months back yet to be acted upon
*Even GAD doesn’t have languages interface of website
JAMMU, Mar 13: The much-needed dissemination of information in all the official languages has remained least priority for the Government departments even one and half year after the approval of the Parliament and issuance of formal notification by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice. The intensity of the non-seriousness can be gauged from the fact that even General Administration Department doesn’t have languages interface of its website.
In the month of September 2020, both the Houses of Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Act and the same received the assent of the President of India on September 26, 2020. The Act was notified by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice on September 27, 2020.
The Section 3 of the Act states: “With effect from such date as the Administrator (Lieutenant Governor) may, by notification in the official gazette, appoint in this behalf, the Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, Hindi and English languages shall be the official languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the Union Territory”.
A provision in Section 3 states that the English language may continue to be used, for those administrative and legislative purposes, in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for which it was being used before the commencement of the Act. As per another provision, the business in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory shall be transacted in the official language or languages of the Union Territory.
In the Committee of Secretaries meeting held on October 12, 2020, the then Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam held discussion on the implementation of Official Languages Act and accordingly directions were issued to all the concerned for completion of formalities as expeditiously as possible, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
Thereafter, the Committee of Secretaries in its meeting held on December 1, 2021 again discussed the issue and accordingly Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta directed: “All the departments shall review their websites and take steps to commence dissemination of information in all the official languages of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir”.
“However, till date not even single department has started disseminating information in all the official languages in utter disregard to the directions of the present and former Chief Secretary”, sources said, adding “the intensity of non-compliance can be gauged from the fact that even the website of General Administration Department (GAD) doesn’t have languages interface”.
The inordinate delay in this regard is notwithstanding the fact that Vide Government Order No. 1110-JK-GAD dated December 14, 2020, sanction was accorded to the establishment of Official Languages Section in the General Administration Department for translating important statutory orders, Government orders and other important Government documents as may be desired by the authorities into four additional official languages of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir-Hindi, Kashmiri, Dogri and Urdu.
It was also mentioned in the order that this Section will develop Hindi, Kashmir, Dogri and Urdu interface of the official website of GAD in collaboration with the Information Technology Department, which will provide all possible assistance in terms of hardware, software and technical guidance.
“No permanent staff has been posted in the Official Languages Section in the GAD and existing manpower is on deputation from Higher Education Department, Information Department and the erstwhile J&K Legislative Council”, sources further said.
When contacted, Rahul Sharma, Secretary in the General Administration Department, who is also looking after the Official Language Section, said, “I have not gone through the directives issued from the Committee of Secretaries platform regarding the dissemination of information in all the official languages”. He rather asked, “where are the instructions you are referring about”.
“No doubt the General Administration Department has carried out detailed exercise in this regard but nothing of sort is available on the website in the official languages other than English”, sources privy to the steps taken in the GAD said.