Polity & Governance
- Bill seeks national official language stature for those in Eighth Schedule
Key Facts for Prelims
- Certifying Agency for Organic Foodgrains
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Polity & Governance
Bill seeks national official language stature for those in Eighth Schedule
A Tamil leader introduced a private member’s Bill, seeking to give all 22 languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution the stature of national official languages.
WHAT IS THE DEMAND OF A PROPOSED BILL?
- The Constitution Amendment Bill, 2019, seeks to amend Article 343, which states that the “official language of the Union shall be Hindi in Devanagari script”.
- The Bill proposed by Tamil leader wants that the all 22 languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution should be national official languages.
The Constitutional provisions relating to the Eighth Schedule occur in article 344(1) and 351 of the Constitution.
Article 344(1): provides for the constitution of a Commission by the President on expiration of 5 years from the commencement of the Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of 10 years from such commencement, which shall consist of a Chairman and other members representing the different languages specified in the Eighth Schedule to make recommendations to the President for the progressive use of Hindi for official purposes of the Union.
Article 351: It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing for its vocabulary, primarily, on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.
List of languages in the Eighth Schedule
22 languages: –
(1) Assamese, (2) Bengali, (3) Gujarati, (4) Hindi, (5) Kannada, (6) Kashmiri, (7) Konkani, (8) Malayalam, (9) Manipuri, (10) Marathi, (11) Nepali, (12) Oriya, (13) Punjabi, (14) Sanskrit, (15) Sindhi, (16) Tamil, (17) Telugu, (18) Urdu (19) Bodo, (20) Santhali, (21) Maithili and (22) Dogri.
COMMITTEE ON OFFICIAL LANGUAGES:
As the evolution of dialects and languages is dynamic, influenced by socio-political developments, it is difficult to fix any criterion for languages, whether to distinguish them from dialects, or for their inclusion in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.
- Consequently, two committees viz. the Pahwa (1996) and Sitakant Mohapatra (2003) Committees were formed by the government.
- A Committee was set up in September 2003 under the Chairmanship of Shri Sitakant Mohapatra to evolve a set of objective criteria for inclusion of more languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
- The Committee submitted its report in 2004, which is still under the government’s consideration in consultation with the concerned Minorities/Departments.
- September 14 is observed as the Hindi Day. It was on this date in 1949 that the Constituent Assembly adopted Hindi in Devanagari script as the official language of the Indian union.
[Ref: Indian Express, PIB]
Key Facts for Prelims
Certifying Agency for Organic Foodgrains
In 2017, FSSAI notified domestic standards for organic products as pre-requisite for qualifying the organic food claim in domestic market. These Regulations require organic food to comply with the provisions of any one of the existing certification systems – National Programme for Organic Production or Participatory Guarantee System for India (PGS).
ABOUT NATIONAL PROGRAMME FOR ORGANIC PRODUCTION
- Launched in 2000, the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) provides Standards for organic production for accreditation of Certification Bodies (which provides certification to organic products).
- It also provides an institutional mechanism for the implementation of National Standards for Organic Production (NSOP).
- The Department of Commerce under Ministry of Commerce and Industry is the Apex body of the NPOP. The National Steering Committee (NSC) under Department of Commerce is responsible for the implementation and administration of NPOP. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) act as the Secretariat for NSC.
- In NPOP certification system, an independent organization reviews entire production, processing and transport to ensure the compliance of organic standards.
- Tracenet is an on-line traceability platform to maintain entire data base and chain of custody of NPOP.
- A trademark – “India Organic” is granted on the basis of compliance with the NSOP. Only such manufacturers whose products are duly certified by the accredited Certification Bodies, are eligible for grant of licence to use this logo.
WHAT IS PARTICIPATORY GUARANTEE SYSTEM (PGS)?
- PGS is an internationally applicable organic quality assurance system.
- Participatory Guarantee System –India (PGS-India) is a decentralised organic farming certification system.
- The system certifies organic products maintaining the requisite quality standards, including ensuring that the cultivation and production process is done complying the standards laid down for organic products.
- The scheme is implemented by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and is supported by the Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) scheme.
BENEFITS OF PGS
- Help small and marginal farmers to easily get access to organic certification.
- Cost effective, hassle-free and farmer-friendly.
- Helps in increasing domestic demand for organic produce.
- Prepares the farmers to opt for third party certification, if he wants to opt for exporting his produce. This is a pre-requirement to enter the market for export of organic produce.
- Enables the direct participation of the stakeholders in the choice and definition of the standards, in implementing the certification decisions.