Efforts are underway to make Hindi an official language of the UN and assistance from NRIs has been sought for this, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.
"Government has taken action to make Hindi one of the official languages of the UN... A high-level committee under the External Affairs Minister was also formed in 2003 for this. Another sub-committee was formed the same year headed by the MoS in the ministry to examine the matter and take necessary measures," External Affairs Ministry S M Krishna said during Question Hour.
He said government's sustained efforts have also ensured that the UN produces a weekly programme in Hindi and makes it available on the UN Radio Website. "The same programme in Hindi is sent to India for broadcast over AIR," he said.
Krishna said inclusion of Hindi as official language in the UN has several financial and procedural implications which are required to be met before a formal proposal can be tabled.
"Procedurally the UN General Assembly would need to adopt a resolution by a majority of the 192 member states. After this, India, as the proposing country, would need to provide sufficient financial resources to the UN to cover the additional expenditure related to interpretation, translation, and other things," he said.
"Any effort of this kind also needs support and goodwill of NRIs, who also played a good role in supporting the nuclear deal," he said.
On financial implications involved, Krishna said it entailed an expenditure of USD 14 million annually, which he added was a recurring expenditure.
"Adding another official language also entails a significant increase in the budget of the UN like personnel, equipment and other costs. All member states have to proportionately bear a share of this reapportioned payment," he said.
He said, "Our assessment is that though member states may not object per se to inclusion of Hindi as an official language of the UN, they would be reluctant to share the increased burden of costs that it would entail. Nevertheless, the government continues with its efforts to promote the use of Hindi in the UN and outside."