The Home Minister made the following Statement in the Lok Sabha today in response to calling attention tabled by Shri Prabhunath Singh regarding Bhojpuri Language to be included in the Eighth Schedule:
“The Government has been receiving demands for inclusion of various languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution over the last several years. At present, the Eighth Schedule consists of 22 languages. These are (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) Telgu, (18) Urdu (19) Bodo, (20) Santhali, (21) Maithili and (22) Dogri. Of these languages, 14 were initially included in the Constitution. Sindhi language was added in 1967. Thereafter three more languages viz, Konkani, Manipuri and Nepali were included in 1992. Subsequently Bodo, Dogri, Maithili and Santhali were added vide 92nd Constitution Amendment Act, 2003 published in the gazette of India on 8.1.2004.
Demands for inclusion of 35 more languages in the Eighth Schedule are pending with the Government. These are Angika, Banjara, Bazika, bhojpuri, Bhoti, Bhotia, Chhattisgarhi, Dhatki, English, Garhwali (Pahari), Gondi, Ho, Kachachhi, Kamtapuri, Khasi, Kodava (Coorg), Kok Barak, Kumaoni (Pahari), Kurak, Kurmali, Lepcha, Limbu, Mizo (Lushai), Magahi, Mundari, Nagpuri, Nicobarese, pahari (Himachali), Pali, Rajasthani, Sambalpuri/Kosali, Shaurseni (Prakrit), Siraiki, Tenyidi and Tulu.
Reference to the Eighth Schedule occurs in articles 344 (1) and 351 of the Constitution. Article 344 (1) provides for the constitution of a Commission by the President on expiration of five years from the commencement of the Constitution and thereafter at the expiration of ten years from such commencement, which shall consist of a Chairman and such 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 of the Constitution provides that it shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule, and by drawing, wherever necessary or desirable, for its vocabulary, primarily, on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.
In the absence of any objective criteria for inclusion of languages in the Eighth Schedule, a committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Shri Sita Kant Mohapatra to evolve a set of objective criteria for inclusion of more languages in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India. The Committee has submitted its report to the Government. The recommendations of the Committee are under consideration of the Government and decision on pending demands for inclusion of languages in the eighth Schedule, including Bhojpuri, will be taken in the light of the recommendation of the committee”.