The Kannada Development Authority on Monday asked regional heads of nationalised, rural and scheduled banks to make it mandatory for non-Kannada-speaking staffers to learn the language in six months. The demand comes in KDA’s latest circular issued on Monday to all the nationalised, rural and scheduled banks in the state, which reads: “If employees, who do not know Kannada, fail to learn the language within six months, they should be relieved of their services in accordance with the recruitment rules.”

According to KDA chairman SG Siddaramaiah:

We have given them six months to learn Kannada. We have directed the regional heads to relive those employees who do not know Kannada even after the six-month deadline.

The circular also demands that special units must be set up at the banks to ensure that Kannada is promoted. KDA Chairman SG Siddaramaiah said that a trend of not giving importance to the local language has emerged across services and it could lead to conflicts in the future.

The authority has asked banks to use Kannada in the three-language formula in their advertisements and other documentation. However, Mr. Siddasramaiah is of the view that despite repeated notices sent to the banks, the bank associations haven’t paid any heed to the matter: “None of these banks pay attention to this issue. Most of the people across the state know Kannada only. We have to think about them. The fact that these banks have not respected the local language cannot be ignored as it may lead to future conflicts. Banks have to take measure to ensure that their employees learn Kannada immediately.”

SP Shankar a senior advocate, said that service conditions cannot be altered midcareer to the detriment of employees.

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