8th Schedule of Indian Constitution - Official Languages

There are 22 official languages in India and they are covered under the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution. Schedules in the constitution are important for aspirants to learn for IAS Exam and 8th schedule is one of these. This article will discuss the topic, ‘8th schedule of Indian Constitution,’ which is an important one from UPSC Polity syllabus.

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Articles related to 8th Schedule of Indian Constitution

There are a total of 12 Schedules in the Indian Constitution and each one is important. The Constitutional provisions relating to the 8th Schedule are in articles 344(1) and 351 of the Indian Constitution:

8th Schedule of Indian Constitution and the Articles related to it
Article 344 Committee and Commission of Parliament on official language
Article 344(1)
  • establishment of a Commission by the President on the expiration of 5 years from the commencement of the Constitution and afterwards at the expiration of 10 years from such commencement
  • It should comprise of a Chairman and other members representing the various languages specified in the 8th Schedule to make recommendations to the President for the dynamic use of Hindi for official purposes of the Government of India.
Article 351 The duty of the Union to encourage the spread of the Hindi language to advance it so that it may serve as a medium of communication for all the components of the composite culture of India and to safeguard its enhancement by integrating without interfering with its genius, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the 8th Schedule, and by drawing, anywhere essential or required, for its terminology, mainly, on Sanskrit and secondarily on other languages.

To read more important articles in the Indian Constitution, follow the linked article.

Schedule 8 of the Indian Constitution – 22 Official Languages

Initially, there were 14 official languages. Now, there are 22 official languages in the 8th schedule of the Indian constitution. Check the list of languages below:

Language Spoken in Indian State of Year of Recognition
Assamese Assam 1950
Bengali West  Bengal 1950
Gujarati Gujarat 1950
Hindi North India 1950
Kashmiri Jammu & Kashmir 1950
Kannada Karnataka 1950
Malayalam Kerala 1950
Marathi Maharashtra 1950
Odia Odisha 1950
Punjabi Punjab 1950
Sanskrit Karnataka (Shivamogga District) 1950
Tamil Tamil Nadu 1950
Telugu Andhra Pradesh, Telangana 1950
Urdu Jammu & Kashmir, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh 1950
Sindhi Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh 1967
Konkani Goa 1992
Manipuri Manipur 1992
Nepali Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh 1992
Bodo Assam and Meghalaya 2004
Dogri Jammu and Himachal Pradesh 2004
Maithili Bihar and Jharkhand 2004
Santhali West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha 2004

For more details on the scheduled languages in India, aspirants can refer to the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs’ Department of Official Language Website (https://rajbhasha.gov.in/en/languages-included-eighth-schedule-indian-constitution.)

Special Directives

The Constitution of India contains certain special directives to protect the interests of linguistic minorities and to promote the development of Hindi language. The provisions are as followings:

1. Every aggrieved person has the right to submit a representation for the redress of any grievance to any officer or authority of the Union or a state in of the languages used in the Union or in the state, as the case may be. This means that a representation cannot be rejected on the ground that it is not an official language.

2. Every stat and a local authority in the state should provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother-tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups. The president can issue necessary directions for this purposes.

3. The president should be appointed a special officer for linguistic minorities to investigate all matters relating to the constitutional safeguards for linguistic minorities and to report to him. The president should place all such reports before the Parliament and send to the stare government concerned.

Classical Language Status

  • In 2004, the government of India decided to create new category of languages called as “classical languages”. In 2006, it laid down the criteria for conferring the classical language status. The criteria is as follows:
  • A language must have its early texts recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years
  • A body of ancient literature/texts which is considered a valuable heritage by generation of speakers and a literary tradition that is original and not borrowed from another speech community.

So far, as of 2016, six languages have been granted classical language status. Tamil was the first language granted in 2004 while Odia was the latest to be conferred classical language status in 2014.

Once a language is declared classical, it gets financial assistance for setting up a centre of excellence for the study of that language and also opens up an avenue for two major awards for scholars of eminence.

Conclusion

Learning about 22 languages that are officially a part of the Indian Constitution is important for UPSC 2022 aspirants. You should know about the year of recognition and the chronology of the languages under the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution so as to answer questions asked in UPSC Prelims.

Aspirants reading, ‘8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution,’ can also read similar Polity topics linked in the table below:

Frequently Asked Questions on 8th Schedule of Indian Constitution

Q 1. What is the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution?

Ans. The 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution deals with the official languages in India. 22 official languages have been mentioned in the Indian Constitution.

Q 2. Why English is not included in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution?

Ans. The Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India lists the official languages of the Republic of India and English is not one of them. At the time of writing the Constitution of India, there were only 14 languages mentioned in the 8th schedule. The others were added through various amendments and English was never one of them.

How many official languages are in India?

There are a total of 121 languages and 270 mother tongues. The 22 languages specified in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India are given in Part A and languages other than those specified in the Eighth Schedule (numbering 99) are given in Part B.

Why India has no national language?

As per the Constitution of India, there is no National Language of India. After independence, the Constitution makers had a problem of selecting a national language which can unite a country because there were more than 1,600 languages spoken in different parts of the country.

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