Indian media criticise politician's demand to ban English language in parliament

image captionEnglish language is taught at primary schools in India

Media in India are criticising a leading politician's demand to ban the use of the English language in parliament.

Mulayam Singh Yadav, chief of the Samajwadi Party (SP), reportedly sought to ban English in favour of Hindi and other regional Indian languages.

"There should be a ban on English address in Parliament. Countries which use their mother tongue are more developed. It's the need of the hour to promote Hindi," the NDTV website quotes Mr Yadav as saying.

The Times of India, however, takes a contrary view, saying "English proficiency is not only a vital tool for development in India but also (ensures) a notable advantage over some other developing countries".

"When parliamentarians represent more than a billion Indians, it's common sense that many find English useful in communicating across diverse audiences," it adds

The Indian Express says Mr Singh's "anti-English" stand shows his party is refusing to modernise despite having a young leader in his son Akhilesh.

Akhilesh Yadav became the chief minister of the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh in 2012 on the back of promises to modernise the state and his party.

"Mr Singh's latest attempt to reset and rewind the agenda by raking up an obsolete Hindi-English divide only confirms that the SP has decided to pass up the opportunity to remake itself under a more modern leadership," the paper writes in an editorial.

For The Pioneer, using the English language in parliament does not affect the growth of other languages.

"Politicians like Mr Yadav have since long sought to place English and Hindi on a confrontational course, not out of love for Hindi but to use the situation to build a vote-bank which is fed on the misbelief that continued and increasing use of English is throttling Hindi," it says.

Birth certificate

Meanwhile, newspapers are backing senior scientist CNR Rao's criticism of inadequate government funding for science research in the country.

Mr Rao's criticism came soon after he was recently awarded India's top civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna (jewel of India).

The Pioneer observes that insufficient funds make cutting-edge research "tremendously difficult", compelling Indian scientists to "move to foreign shores where the overall environment… is more conducive".

Hindi paper Amar Ujala laments that India's highest science institutions "find no place among the world's top 100" as investing in science is "not a priority".

Elsewhere, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has stopped its excavation in the Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh state after a month-long hunt, reportedly for buried gold, proved unsuccessful, The Indian Express reports.

The excavation had started in October after a local religious leader said he had a dream of buried treasure at the site, though the ASI says its digging had nothing to do with the claims.

In other news, veteran BBC journalist Mark Tully, who was born in Calcutta, will finally receive his birth certificate from city authorities, The Times of India reports.

The Kolkata Municipal Corporation authorities had to search through colonial-era records to meet the 78-year-old's request.

But 64-year-old Gurgaon-based businessman Madan Lal Jain is not so lucky in his quest for a birth certificate, according to another report in the paper.

The Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) has said it can only give him the document if he tracks down and obtains a signature from the midwife who helped with his birth in 1949 - "a task he is unlikely to ever fulfil", the report says.

But MCG officials say that they are only following the rules, it adds.

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