Mother Tongue Survey of India

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    • The Ministry of Home Affairs recently completed the Mother Tongue Survey of India (MTSI) with a field video of the country’s 576 languages.
      • The NIC and the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) will be documenting and preserving the linguistic data of the surveyed mother tongues in audio-video files.

    What is the MTSI?

    • The Mother Tongue Survey of India is a project that surveys the mother tongues which are returned consistently across two and more Census decades.
      • It also documents the linguistic features of the selected languages.
    • The category “mother tongue” is a designation provided by the respondent, but it need not be identical with the actual linguistic medium. 

    How many mother tongues are spoken in India?

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    • According to the 2011 linguistic census data released in 2018, there are more than 19,500 languages and dialects spoken as mother tongues in India.  
      • These 19,500 languages were further grouped into 121 categories of mother tongue after linguistic scrutiny and rationalising.
    • According to the 2011 linguistic census, Hindi is the most widely spoken mother tongue, with 52.8 crore people or 43.6 percent of the population declaring it as the mother tongue.
      • Following that 8 percent of the population spoke Bengali, making it the country’s second most popular mother tongue

    What is the Linguistic Survey of India?

    • The Linguistic Survey of India (LSI) is a regular research activity in the country since the 6th Five Year Plan.
    • The primary objective of the present Linguistic Survey of India is to present an updated linguistic scenario.
      • It further aims to provide necessary inputs to the social/educational planners in respective States for their planning to attain the envisaged goals.

    Where does the mother tongue feature in the education of children?

    • Under the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 the focus is on promoting mother tongue and regional languages.
    • The new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for the foundational stages of education has recommended that mother tongue should be the primary medium of instruction in schools for children up to eight years of age.
      • Since children learn concepts most rapidly and deeply in their home language, the primary medium of instruction would optimally be the child’s mother tongue in the Foundational Stage.  

    Status of the population census

    • The forthcoming decennial population census will be the 16th since the first exercise was conducted in 1872.
      • It will be the eighth census since independence.
    • The census was supposed to take place in 2021, but was postponed due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
    • The Home Ministry has adopted some new initiatives, which include digital data processing and the use of geospatial technology.
      • Pre-census mapping activities like preparation and updation of maps that show administrative units will be carried out.
      • Census results will be disseminated via web-based interactive maps.
      • Jurisdictional changes that occurred in the country after Census 2011 till 2019 have been updated in the geo-referenced database and more than 6 lakh maps have been prepared and uploaded for census functionaries. 

    Source: IE