Kannada made compulsory for employees working in nationalised, private and grameen banks in Karnataka.
The Kannada Development Authority (KDA) has issued a notice asking all the regional heads of nationalised, private and grameen banks in Karnataka, to ask their staff to learn Kannada within six months or lose their jobs.
Though the objective is to help the rural and regional customers, the bank employees will face a lot of challenges learning the language. A large chunk of the bank employees is from other states, and adopting the new language will be a problem for them, given the time duration.
Earlier also, the Kannada Development Authority had repeatedly asked these banks to implement Kannada in their day to day dealings, but these instructions were ignored.
As per KDA chairman, SG Siddaramaiah, none of the banks heeded their order, despite repeated reminders. As most of the people in the state speak in Kannada, it is imperative that the banks adopt this language in their operations. Ignoring the language can lead to further conflicts.
These banks currently operate in Hindi and English, and given the fact that most of the customers speak only Kannada, it is required that they adopt a third language— Kannada.
Also, the Reserve Bank of India instructs banks to follow a three-language policy to be able to serve the regional customers better.
So, the banks are left with no choice but to recruit candidates who know Kannada or train their staff in the language within six months.
These banks have been asked to open Kannada learning centres in their respective branches, where employees will be trained in the language.
KDA will regularly visit these banks to check whether their instructions are being implemented or not.