The country’s aviation regulator has drawn flak for telling airlines to carry more Hindi language newspapers and magazines for passengers, according to a report in The Economic Times.
The decision was taken to help bring at par the number of Hindi and English language newspapers and magazines in flights.
The move sparked criticism for “contributing to the promotion of Hindi” and is being seen by many as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) overstepping its role, the report said.
In a letter written to Indian carriers, the joint director general of the DGCA said that the carriers carrying fewer or not carrying Hindi language newspapers at all “go against the official language policy of the Indian union”.
The directive comes amid efforts by airlines to reduce costs and save aviation fuel by carrying less material on-board.
“DGCA is meant to be a safety regulator. This had nothing at all to do with safety,” a senior airline executive was quoted as saying. “In flights, few read Hindi papers and it will add cost and weight. Besides, in many parts of the country, Hindi is not read or spoken at all. This is like the EU (European Union) requiring German newspapers on all EU flights,”
DGCA later clarified that the directive was “advisory in nature”.
Earlier this month, Air India had decided to stop serving non-vegetarian meals in the economy class on all its domestic routes, a move seen by some as enforcing of the ideology promoted by the government.