English Speakers Are Microscopic Minority in India: Nitin Gadkari 

Gadkari spoke at the launch of ‘Bol – Love Your Bhasha’, an initiative by Quint Hindi & Google India. 

Updated
Bol India
2 min read

Video Editor: Abhishek Sharma

Producer: Hera Khan

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, the Chief Guest in ‘Bol-Love Your Bhasha’, an initiative by Quint Hindi and Google India to help Indian languages gain the same prominence and popularity on the internet as English, spoke about how the English-speaking population in the country were a “microscopic minority in India”.

Gadkari was addressing an observation by The Quint’s Director, Sanjay Pugalia, on complaints from users of the government apps, which they claim are only made available in English.

The minister also spoke about how the ‘knowledge’ one received via the internet across the world in English, could be translated into regional languages, which in turn would help both develop the country and strengthen its economy.

Here are a few points the minister addressed at the event.

‘Regional Media and Cinema Popular, But Need More Focus’

Gadkari, who is known to be a strong proponent of Marathi language, said that while both regional media and regional cinema are popular in India in their respective spaces, there is a need to focus more on the usage of everyday regional languages more actively.

According to Gadkari, a child who studied at an English medium school and later went on to work in an environment conducive to that language, would naturally choose to speak in English even at home, despite being well-versed in his or her regional language.

Making information available to them in their regional language, would be a definitive start, he said.

‘English-Speaking Population a Microscopic Minority in India’

Calling the English-speaking population in India – including consumers of the English media – a “microscopic minority in India”, Gadkari said that the reason they stand out is because they usually dominate in metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi.

He also said that the population consuming English news and content is significantly less. If the same news and content was converted into regional languages, the consumer base would be much higher – one crore as compared to one lakh in the city. 

‘We Can Borrow Innovation From the West and Indianise it’

On being questioned about why most of India’s ‘latest’ technologies and innovation has been derived from the West – especially the United States – Gadkari said that if the West has discovered advanced technology and innovation which will help the country, then there is nothing wrong in borrowing from them.

The borrowed practices, however, are “indianised”, he said.

However, he said that following the recent fluctuations of the rupee against the dollar, he had expressed the need to come up with a system where the items which India imported this year, should not be imported the following year.

“I feel there are things we have here (in India) yet continue to import, like coal, copper, biofuel and many more.”
Nitin Gadkari

Adding to this, he also stressed on the need for privatisation, stating that private sectors increase competition and improve services.

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