Demand to mandate in-flight announcements in Indian languages

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India is a Union of linguistic states with 22 official languages recognized in the 8th schedule of the Constitution.

According to Census 2001, only 25% of Indians have Hindi as their mother tongue. According to research findings of Google, only 7% of Indians are conversant in English. This data shows that a vast majority of Indians can not understand these two languages.

Ignoring these facts, only Hindi and English are used in all spheres of administration of the Government of India leading to discrimination against non-speakers of these two languages. This policy is impacting the lives of crores of non-Hindi citizens who opt for air travel within India as safety, in-flight announcements and all other communication with the passengers are currently done only in Hindi and English only.

Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) acknowledged this problem in one of their earlier circulars where it noted that “At present, air passengers come from all sections of society and many of them may not be conversant with English or even Hindi, besides there are elderly passengers and passengers who do not travel frequently and such announcements are of great significance for them." However, instead of mandating the airlines to provide safety and in-flight announcements in people’s languages, it issued an order to make Hindi/English announcements at a slower pace! 

Many flight users have demanded that in-flight communication should be given in the state official language in which the flight operates. These demands are turned down by the airlines as the existing rules do not mandate the use of state languages. One such story can be seen here.

Hence we demand ministry of civil aviation to mandate all airlines operating within India to provide safety, in-flight instructions and all communication with passengers in state administrative languages of flight’s origin and destination.

Ravi R. Savkar
Arun Javgal
Kannada Grahakara Koota