While industry bodies are apprehensive about the State government’s attempt to push for 100 per cent reservation for local people in blue collar jobs in the private sector, efforts are on to push for a Cabinet approval in four weeks.
Draft amendments to the Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing orders) Rules, 1961, providing for 100 per cent “horizontal reservation” for local people has been put up by the Labour Department for objections/suggestions. IT/ITeS/BT/start-ups/ knowledge-based industries are exempt from this.
Responding to the proposal, trade bodies including the Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI) and the Karnataka Small-Scale Industries Association (KASSIA) said they were apprehensive of its “implementability”, citing “non-availability” of skilled local workers.
“Though it is a welcome move, it will be difficult to implement it in a scenario where there is paucity of skilled workers among the local people,” C.K. Padmanabhan, president, KASSIA.
FKCCI president T.R. Dwarakanath expressed the apprehension that it could lead to problems if the provision was challenged on legal grounds that it denies job opportunities to others. Some members of trade bodies, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said that “it might force the industries to compromise with quality, which will ultimately reflect in the revenue.”
However, speaking to The Hindu , Santosh Lad, Minister for Labour, said that the draft rules would be brought before the Cabinet by January-end. “In all probability, a Bill seeking amendment to the rules will brought before the budget session.”
The draft is currently pending before the Law Department. Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs T.B. Jayachandra said he had asked legal experts to whet the draft and make it “fool proof” so that the move would not attract Constitutional issues. This is a long-pending demand and was recommended by the Sarojini Mahishi Committee in the 80s and also by the Kannada Development Authority, he said.
Mr. Lad said that government would not insist that posts be kept vacant in case of non- availability of candidate with the right qualification.
Discounting the possibility of the law attracting Constitutional issues, former Advocate-General of Karnataka, Ravivarma Kumar, said that offering employment to local people is an “unwritten rule” in several States. He said that it was wrong to call it reservation for Kannadigas based on mother tongue, as it was aimed at providing employment to the local population.