11 May 2012

Hindi as Official Language of UN

The Minister of State in the Ministry of External Affairs Shri E. Ahamed informed the Rajya Sabha today that the Government has been actively taking necessary measures for the introduction of Hindi as one of the Official Languages of the UN. A high level Committee under the Chairmanship of the External Affairs Minister was constituted on 26 February, 2003 followed by a sub-Committee under the chairmanship of the Minister of State for External Affairs in August, 2003 to look into this matter and take necessary measures. Keeping in view this objective, the 8th World Hindi Conference was organized in New York on 13 July 2007 and its inaugural session was held at the UN Headquarters, which was attended by the UN Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon. In addition, a World Hindi Secretariat has been set up in Mauritius since 11 February 2008 to promote Hindi as an international language. On several occasions, Indian leaders have delivered statements at the UN in Hindi. Necessary arrangements were made for simultaneous interpretation of these statements in English by the Permanent Mission of India in New York. The Government of India's sustained efforts have also ensured that the United Nations offers its programmes on the UN Radio Website in Hindi also. 

The introduction of Hindi as one of the official languages of the United Nations has several financial and procedural implications which require to be met before a formal proposal can be tabled at the UN. India, as the proposing country, would need to provide sufficient financial resources to the UN to cover the additional expenditure on interpretation, translation, printing and duplication of documents and related infrastructural costs. Procedurally, the UN General Assembly (the legislative body of the UN) would also need to adopt a resolution supported by a majority of the 193 UN Member States. Apart from the additional cost to India, the addition of another official language at the UN entails a significant increase in the budget of the UN (personnel, equipment, and other recurring costs). Member States have been generally reluctant to support proposals entailing any additional financial burden. 

This information was given by the Minister of State for External Affairs Shri E. Ahamed in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today. 

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