about 7 months ago
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This is really a storm in a tea cup.

Reservation and waivers are two favourite words of politicians. Use these words and you are sure to win elections; almost like a magic mantra; chant, chant, chant it all the way and all the time and glory comes to you!

Haryana does not have an election any time soon but it is only fulfilling the promise it made in 2019 assembly elections. Last week, the Haryana Govt notified a new law (can be read as “new low” too) – 75% job reservation for locals, referred to officially as ‘domicile’ in the private sector. This reservation is applicable for jobs which have a monthly salary of Rs 50,000 or as may be notified by the government from time to time.

This Bill, known as Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020, was passed by the state Assembly in Nov’20 and now its notified as a law. It is applicable to all companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, partnership firms and any person employing 10 or more persons and an entity, as may be notified by the government from time to time shall come under the ambit of this Act.

Naturally, this has created a furor as Haryana houses Gurugram, which has offices of some of the biggest names of the corporate world like Microsoft, Google, TCS, Infosys, Wipro, HCL Tech, Genpact. How does an IT company hire a “local” only because he is a local and not really skilled for the job? This would be true for almost every company, which requires specified skills. So, does that mean that companies have to do with sub-standard skill as long as it’s a “local”? More importantly, what happens if that exact skill or even a better one is available in neighbouring Noida? Two things will happen to circumvent this law – create fake papers to show a domicile of Haryana or companies will pay more than 50k.

Many people are saying that companies will now rush out of Haryana, especially the IT companies who might look at moving to Noida. But that’s not going to happen simply because this law is never going to be implemented in the true sense.

Andhra Pradesh has also tried this gimmick and failed – it has been challenged in the state High Court for being unconstitutional. It says that such laws violate the Article 16(2) and (3) of the Constitution which prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of place of residence. Article 16(1) states that equality should be given to all citizens of the country when it comes to employment or appointment to any office under the state. Because this law has been challenged, it has not been implemented and in all likelihood will be squashed.

Karnataka tried it too – mandating employment reservation for Kannadigas. Last year, in Oct, the Karnataka Govt issued an order that natives of the state should be given priority when private companies, registered within the state, are looking to hire. Madhya Pradesh is also looking at bringing in a law to reserve 70% jobs for locals in private sector. Maharashtra plans to make it mandatory for private sectors to hire 80% locals - residents who have been living in the state for more than 15 years.

In all probability, such a law in all states will be squashed and it will not get implemented but this thought process is scary. On one hand the central Govt leadership talks about unifying people, putting all schemes under “one nation” banner and then we have these states, dividing people.

We wish, states and politicians, instead of taking the divisive route of ‘reservation’ they concentrate on developing skills- this will automatically get the ‘locals’ employed.

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