The Centre’s digital-economy drive has forced taxmen in Madhya Pradesh to adopt tribal language to sensitise uninitiated villagers about the ‘jargons of new economy’ to breach the language divide.
“Ya seep machine chhe,” remarked a tribal referring to swipe machine during a ‘Digital India’ presentation which was organised in tribal-predominant Jhabua district’s Dharmapuri village on December 23, 2016.
The presentation saw speakers including Professor Pratayjit Majumdar from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, take help of translators to explain difficult words on demonitisation, digital economy in Bhili dialect to over 60 tribals present at the workshop.
Junapani village’s tribal farmer Rajaram Katara, who attended the programme, admitted the language was a problem. But tribals, he said, have devised a solution.
“Since government officials don’t translate or provide local dialect terms for difficult Hindi or English words, tribals, most of whom are semi literate, have found a way out. After hearing words like swipe machine, ATMs, debit cards they mould it in their dialect and pronounce it accordingly. The swipe machine is thus pronounced in 10 different ways like sep machine or swep machine,” Katara said.
Seeing this, the taxmen have begun to use local tribal dialects including Bhili to communicate with people of tribal predominant districts of south-west Madhya Pradesh.
“We engage (Bhili) translators at our workshops. which are organised in Jhabua, Alirajpur district to help tribals understand better,” income tax department’s joint commissioner (Ratlam) Ila Parmar said.
Words like ‘Chutni card’ for voter ID card, `Beg ki Chopri’ for bank pass book, `Haath nu photowala kagaz’ for Adhar card have entered the lexicon of taxmen, auditors, government officials as tribals queue up at office of chartered accountants, tax practitioners to make TIN (Taxpayer Identification Number), PAN (Permanent Account Number) cards.
“My office used to receive 10,000 PAN card applications in a year. After of high currency notes on November 8, we received 4,000 applications in last two months. Tribals are inquiring about PAN, income tax, Aadhar card to open bank accounts, set up small businesses, avail government welfare schemes. Awareness has gone up,” said Meghnagar-based (Jhabua district) chartered accountant Balwant Hada.
He talks with his tribal clients in Bhili.
Income tax practitioner Sanjay Vyas, whose family is living in Jhabua for last 110 years, said I-T department takes his help to explain practical aspects of Income Tax Act, PAN benefits and arbitration matters to tribals.
“We speak Bhili-mixed Hindi while talking to them. Many tribals have become contractors for constructing toilets under Clean India Mission. For this, they need TIN, PAN etc. So, they come to us to understand provisions and formalities required,” said Vyas, whose 50% of clients are tribals.