Activists Laud Sitharaman's Move to Let Banking Job Aspirants Write Exams in Kannada, But Want More

Activists Laud Sitharaman's Move to Let Banking Job Aspirants Write Exams in Kannada, But Want More

Bengaluru: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced on Thursday in Parliament that recruitment exams by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS) for regional rural banks (RRBs) will be held in 13 languages in addition to the existing English and Hindi.

“With a view to provide a level-playing field and expand employment possibilities for local youth, it has been decided that exams for direct recruitment of Scale-I officers and office assistants (multi-purpose) will be conducted in 13 regional languages in addition to English and Hindi,” she said. These 13 languages are Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Manipuri, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

However, Kannada activists say this is not good enough for local youth amid a growing demand for reverting to the pre-2014 notification where proficiency in local language by means of having studied the language at least till 10th standard was mandatory.

“Giving the option to write in Kannada is a welcome option but in terms of employing the youth of the state, this does not make much of a difference. Those who write in English and Hindi and have not studied the local language can still be posted in the state,” said Arun Javagal, an activist.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from South Bengaluru Tejasvi Surya had raised the issue of reverting to the pre-2014 notification during Zero Hour on June 26. “From 2014 onwards, 64%, 61% and 81% respectively of people getting jobs in rural banks of Karnataka are from outside of Karnataka. State’s youth must get jobs in Karnataka rural banks,” he had said.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy thanked Sitharaman for paying heed to the request of allowing job aspirants from the state to write their tests in Kannada, adding that this would largely benefit rural candidates.

He also requested the finance minister to go back to the pre-2014 notification.

There are 45 regional rural banks across the country with a total staff strength of about 90,000 employees. So far, the IBPS conducted pan-India tests in English and Hindi for recruitment of officers scales 1, 2 and 3 and office assistants (multi-purpose) in these banks.

This year onwards, candidates will be able to choose one of the 13 languages for writing the exam. Those proficient in the local language by way of having studied the language till Class VIII or above are eligible.

However, those who do not meet this criteria are given a time of six months from the date of joining to acquire proficiency and the period can be extended by the boards of RRBs within the framework of their rules.