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Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities

Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities

What is a Linguistic Minority?

  • Before we go into detail on what is a Special Officer for a Linguistic Minority, one must know the definitions of linguistic minority.
  • A linguistic minority is a class of people whose mother tongue is different from that of the majority in the state or part of a state. the constitution provides for the protection of the interests of linguistic minorities.
  • About 36.3 million of India’s 1.2 billion strong population ( as per the Census of 2011) speak an “absolute minority language”, a language which in every of India’s 28 States forms a minority.

Mission –

  • The mission of Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities is adhered to the successful and efficient implementation of constitutional safeguards and nationally agreed scheme of safeguards for the linguistic minorities for providing them equal opportunities for inclusive development.

Constitutional Provisions

Article 350 B of the Constitution provides for the appointment by President of a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities. This Officer is known as National Commissioner Linguistic Minorities and following are the provisions:

  • There shall be a Special Officer for linguistic minorities to be appointed by the President.
  • It shall be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under this Constitution and report to the President upon those matters at such intervals as the President may direct, and the President shall cause all such reports to be laid before each House of Parliament, and sent to the Governments of the States concerned.
  • His seat is at Allahabad.
  • He is assisted by deputy commissioners and assistant commissioner
  • He maintains liaison with the state governments and Union Territories through nodal officers appointed by them.
  • The commissioner falls under the ministry of Minority Affairs at central level.
  • He submits the annual reports or other reports to the President through the Union Minority Affairs Minister.

Objectives 

  • To provide equal opportunities to linguistic minorities for inclusive development and national integration.
  • To spread awareness among the linguistic minorities about the safeguards available to them.
  • To ensure effective implementation of the safeguards provided to linguistic minorities in the constitution and other safeguards agreed to.
  • To handle the representations for the redress of grievances related to safeguards for linguistic minorities

Role of the Officer:

  • To take up all the matters pertaining to the grievances arising out of the non-implementation of the Constitutionally and Nationally Agreed Scheme of Safeguards provided to linguistic minorities that come to its notice or are brought to its knowledge by the linguistic minority individuals, groups, associations or organisations at the highest political and administrative levels of the state governments and union territory administrations and recommends remedial actions to be taken.
  • To promote and preserve linguistic minority groups, the Ministry of Minority Affairs has requested the State Governments / Union Territories to give wide publicity to the constitutional safeguards provided to linguistic minorities and to take necessary administrative measures.                                              Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities
  • The state governments and UT Administrations were urged to accord priority to the implementation of the scheme of safeguards for linguistic minorities.
  • The Commissioner launched a 10 point programme to lend fresh impetus to Governmental efforts towards the preservation of the language and culture of linguistic minorities.

Functions of the officer: 

  • To investigate all matters related to safeguards provided to linguistic minorities.
  • To submit to the president the reports on status of implementation of constitutionally and nationally agreed safeguards to linguistic minorities.
  • To monitor the implementation of safeguards through questionnaires, visits, conferences, seminars, meetings, etc.

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