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Use of Devanagri numerals on new notes criticised

The use of Devanagri numerals on the new Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 currency notes "contravenes Constitution" and is "highly condemnable", ADMK MP Tiruchi Siva said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Siva said the use of Devanagri script on currency notes shows a preference of the government for a particular language and linguistic group, which may alienate others.

He also objected to the use of Swachh Bharat logo on the notes, saying that the government cannot promote its schemes through currency notes.

"The new ... notes contain ... a script of Hindi and this is contravening ... Article 343 (1) of Constitution that says that form of numerals to be used for official purposes of the Union shall be international form of Indian numerals," Siva said.

Although a Presidential Order of 1960 says that a uniform basic policy should be adopted for use of Devanagri numerals in Hindi publications of central ministries, Siva said the currency notes "are not Hindi publications of a central ministry nor do they cater to the needs of a section only".

He said that as per Article 343(3) of the Constitution, Parliament by law may decide the use of Devanagri form of numerals but it was not being done.

"If at all the currency notes have to use Devanagri numerals, it will be so only after the passage of law by Parliament. But it was done," Siva added.

He said that in a country as diverse as India, the government's decision shows "a preference for a particular language... and the Hindi-speaking groups" though the notes are meant to be used by all linguistic groups and sections in the country.

"It may alienate those who do not belong to this group," he added.

Siva also called the government's move to use Swachh Bharat logo on notes as "preposterous", saying government schemes can't be promoted like this.
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