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The Kannada DevelopmentAuthority (KDA) has asked all nationalised, scheduled andrural banks functioning in Karnataka to ensure that all itsnon-Kannada speaking staff learn the language in six months. The authority has also asked them to set up Kannadaunits at all their branches in the state, in line with Hindi units which exist for the implementation of the language. Pointing out that candidates are selected through examinations conducted by the Institute of Banking Personnel Selection, KDA President S G Siddaramaiah in letters to banks said the IBPS in its applicationitself makes it clear that preference in selection should be given to candidates who know the local language. He said, "Following this, official staff from other languages who are working in your banks should mandatorily learn Kannada within six months." "If those who have beenalready appointed fail to learn Kannada in six months, theyshould be relieved of their services in accordance with therecruitment rules," he said. The move by the authority comes a few days after it intervened in the row over Hindi signages in BengaluruMetro stations by issuing notices to the metro authorities. Stating that it was "necessary" for banks to transact inKannada during their daily official functioning for the benefit of customers, especially for those from ruralareas, Siddaramaiah said there are also the Reserve Bank ofIndia guidelines in this regard. He also pointed out that the Chief Minister, during thestate-level bankers meeting, had said that the government would not tolerate any dual standards in the implementation of Kannada language. Noting that there is "lack of commitment" in implementing local language on part of the banks, the letter said that with the three language policy not being followed, it is causing inconvenience to the public, especially the poor and those from rural areas. "Despite rules that all bank facilities should be available to the public in Kannada, all kinds of forms, specimensshould be in Kannada; official activities are not being transacted in Kannada," it said. Asking banks to give preference to local language candidates during recruitment in accordance with the Sarojini Mahishi report, Siddaramaiah said 'C' and 'D'group posts should completely be given to locals. Stating that he would visit banks in the days tocome to examine the steps taken, he also asked banksto implement the steps suggested on priority basis and submit areport to the authority.
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