West Bengal Civil Service (Executive) Officers Association at Town Hall recently. Ms Banerjee, as quoted by local media reports, said state civil servants lack the ability to speak English fluently as the English language was withdrawn from primary level education during the Left government’s rule.
Chief minister told state bureaucrats how she had an inferiority complex in Delhi when she could not speak English as the first-time MP years ago.
In fact, non-English speaking nations too now want their civil servants to hone English speaking skills. Russia is a classic example where civil servants now learn how to speak good English. When Russia won the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup couple of years ago, then sports minister Vitaly Mutko said, “Let me speak from my heart in English”. The Moscow Times later reported that it took him two weeks to memorize the speech but that YouTube video of the minister speaking English in a thick accent became a major hit with more than one million views.
For Ms Banerjee, the civil servants’ inability to speak good English is just one part of the problem. She has a feeling that many state bureaucrats fail to perform on expected lines because they are stressed out. She asked them to de-stress by listening to music and playing games. Everyone burst into laughter when she said she used to play dangoli, a game played by school children in Bengal’s villages.