A draft National Education Policy, prepared by a panel headed by eminent scientist K Kasturirangan was submitted to the new HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank on May 31. It was made public for feedback and suggestions after that but not everything went as desired. The NEP had proposed making Hindi mandatory in non-Hindi speaking states that faced severe backlash from the public. Additionally, the NEP attributed the popularity of the English language to its adoption by the country's 'economic elite'.
The NEP stated that large sections of society are marginalised because of the privileged used of English. It added that English is used as a criterion to determine if someone is educated and is seen as a prerequisite for jobs. The draft emphasised that the "power structure" of language must be stopped.
"Furthermore, the elite often use English (whether deliberately or inadvertently) as a test for entry into the elite class and for the jobs that they control: English is regularly used by the elite as a criterion to determine whether someone is 'educated', and perhaps most unfortunately of all, as a prerequisite for jobs - even in cases of jobs where knowledge of English is entirely irrelevant," it stated.
The NEP blamed this attitude for creating "unnatural aspiration of parents" that pushes their children to learn and speak in languages that are not their own.
"A major effort in this direction must be taken by the elite and the educated to make increased use of languages native to India, and give these languages the space and respect that they deserve (particularly in hiring, societal events, and in schools and all educational institutions, as well as in daily conversation wherever possible)," stated the NEP.
In Chapter 4, the draft NEP made a strong pitch for multilingualism in the classroom. It, nevertheless, credited the English language for its popularity despite the "rich, expressive and scientific" nature of Indian languages.
The draft NEP added that only 15 per cent of the country spoke in English and that this population almost entirely coincided with the economic elite, when compared with 54 per cent of Indians who speak in Hindi.
The policy draft also said that India should take the cue from international communities that teach their science students to speak fluently in their local languages as well as in English.
Following criticism after what the social media termed 'Hindi imposition' the HRD minister issued a statement clarifying that the policy was only a draft and will be incorporated after public feedback.