Government officials in Maharashtra will now have to say “Vande Mataram” instead of “hello” while receiving phone calls in their offices, Cultural Affairs Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar said on Sunday, according to PTI.
An official order will be issued on the matter by August 18, Mungantiwar said shortly after portfolios were announced on Sunday for ministers in the Eknath Shinde-led state Cabinet.
“Hello is an English word and it is important to give it up,” Mungantiwar said, according to NDTV. “Vande Mataram is not just a word, it is a feeling experienced by every Indian...We are entering the 76th year of Independence. We are celebrating Amrit Mahotsav [of Independence]. Hence I want officials to say ‘Vande Mataram’ over the phone instead of hello.”
In the portfolio allocation on Sunday, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Devendra Fadnavis was handed over the home and finance ministries. Chief minister Shinde will handle more than 10 portfolios, including general administration, urban development and public works.
Shinde and Fadnavis were the only ministers in the Cabinet till August 9 when 18 MLAs were sworn in 40 days after the new government took over. Nine leaders each from the BJP and Shiv Sena took oath on that day but their portfolios were announced on Sunday.