Industrial policy links sops to jobs for locals

It leaves definition of ‘Kannadiga’ open

October 19, 2014 11:40 pm | Updated May 23, 2016 06:41 pm IST - Bangalore:

The new industrial policy of the State, with inclusive, sustainable and balanced industrial development as its focus, links issue of incentives and concessions to the number of jobs provided to Kannadigas.

“All new industrial investment projects shall endeavour to create maximum possible additional direct employment opportunities with a minimum employment of 70 per cent to Kannadigas on an overall basis and 100 per cent in case of Group D employees,” says the policy, unveiled by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

Though not totally unexpected, what could be a bother for industry is the lack of clarity on certain fundamental issues, including whether the Sarojini Mahishi Committee report will form the basis of defining “Kannadigas.”

Our desire is to employ only Kannadigas, but what are we supposed to do if we don’t get such people,” FKCCI president S. Sampathraman asked. The need is to define who Kannadigas are, for the purpose of jobs, whether by birth or by the number of years of residence. In the event of domicile being considered, whether such persons should have stayed continuously for certain number of years.

Member of the Kannada Development Authority B. Suresh says the Sarojini Mahishi Committee report has defined Kannadigas for the purpose of securing government benefits as those who are residents of the State for a minimum of 15 years. In addition, such persons should have also studied Kannada as a subject up to seventh standard.

Sources familiar with the issue also point to a government order, issued in February 1985, that defines Kannadigas as persons who can read, write, and talk in Kannada and have a working knowledge of the language. He or she should be a resident of the State for 15 years.

Describing it as a “potential problem area”, Mr. Sampathraman apprehends that such a norm should not be a tool of harassment of entrepreneurs by lower-rung officials and pro-Kannada organisations. At present, candidates are selected based on their proficiency of work, and questions regarding their religion, domicile are not asked, he says.

The FKCCI would soon have a “full discussion” on the issue.

The Chief Minister, he says, on Friday after releasing the policy told FKCCI leaders that he will give time for a discussion on every issue concerning the industry in the first week of November. A clear picture on the plan of the government is expected to emerge only after guidelines on the policy are issued.

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