Karnataka Asks Private Sector To Reserve Blue-Collared Jobs For Kannadigas

The Karnataka government has passed amendments to rules regarding industrial establishments that have taken any support from the government for priority to be given to Kannadigas, who are local to Karnataka, in jobs on shop floors in the ‘C’ and ‘D’ category of employees.

What is the new directive?

The government directive now is that industries that receive aid from government schemes must have a 100% reservation for Kannadigas in their blue-collared jobs. Even the ones who do not enjoy government welfare are expected to abide by the same rule. If an industry is not abiding by the rule, the new legislation allows the state government to intervene.

Why was the need for such legislation felt?

Karnataka, predominantly Bangalore, has been the base of a huge flux of immigration over the past few years. It has upset the locals, caused a local and immigrant imbalance and led to friction between the two groups, mainly due to economic reasons. The reason is clear. Not enough jobs are being created across the country. This leads to excessive pressure on the states have a relatively better employment condition.

What are some of the criticism against this policy?

The policy has faced backlash both in Karnataka and away. One criticism is that arm-twisting the private sector to hire Kannadigas, the government is indirectly signalling that they are not skilled enough to find work on their own. Another issue with the rule is that this prevents private companies from hiring the best-skilled workers, skills that are indifferent to linguistics and geography. Moreover, it sets precedence for other states to follow suit, leading to greater informalisation of labour and greater insecurity for certain workers.

Way Forward

Article 19 of the Indian Constitution confers the right to live and work in any part of India for all its citizens. And although reasonable restrictions can be put on it for the greater good, it is still to be respected. The bigger problem is that such steps can cause industries to lose faith in India as a labour market, which can lead to a job crisis, followed by the economy taking nosedive. A better way can be for the government to take steps to spread out industries and markets across states. This will allow each state to provide employment to its locals and prevent forced migration. After all, no part of India should be out of bounds for Indians.


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