In the first week of March, the Governor of Haryana Satyadev Narayan Arya had granted approval to Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020 that guarantees a 75% reservation quota in private jobs for the locals of the state. This bill states that companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, partnership firms, and any person or entity employing 10 or more people must reserve 75% of jobs up to the salary of Rs. 50,000 for the domiciles of the Haryana state. This bill was tabled and passed by Haryana state Assembly in November 2020.
The attempt of reserving jobs for locals was not new by the Government of Haryana. In July 2020, Haryana Government has passed an ordinance almost similar to this bill, but it was withdrawn by the cabinet in October. The ordinance was withdrawn because Union Labour and employment had advised the state government to avoid enforcement of such laws in the state. It was one of the poll-promises of alliance partners of state government. However, this bill had sparked the debate on the constitutional and legal power of state government and the legality of this bill.
Haryana was not the first state to pass such a bill. In July 2019, Andhra Pradesh had also passed a similar bill for quota in private jobs. That move of the Andhra Government was challenged in Andhra Pradesh High Court. The court had observed the move as unconstitutional. Gujarat government had passed a similar resolution stating 85% reservation; however, it was never implemented. Maharashtra (80%), Karnataka (75%), and Madhya Pradesh (70%) had passed such laws and got challenged in court.
The Rationale Supporting Quota in Private Jobs
The most argument to support this reservation is that since private enterprise often uses public infrastructure like getting subsidized land, credit from public banks, tax exemptions, fuel and electricity subsidies, etc, the state government has got legitimate right to ask these private companies to comply with the law of this reservation policy. There are other rationales as well like:
- This move will discourage the influx of migrants,
- It will reduce the generation of slums,
- It will improve the employment rate of the state
The Rationale opposing this reservation
One of the strongest arguments in opposition to this reservation is that this bill may be passed with the intention of the welfare of the people, but this bill is itself possessing a threat to the idea of the Republic of India. Either directly or indirectly, this reservation seems to a part of the policy “beggar thy neighbor”.
This move may be helpful for improving the employment rate of the state but on the other side, it will discourage the people of those states where there is a lack of industries or employment. The people from the states like Bihar, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, etc. will be left with no jobs, thus making tremendous pressure on those states. The other arguments in opposition are as follows:
- Localized Protectionism: This bill will make every state works as independent countries as each of the state heads will take care of their fiefdom.
- Adjustment in Standards of Recruitment: The private companies will be forced to lower their recruitment standard and will be forced to select the lower-skilled staff compared to other highly skilled staff.
- Increase Hatred on Basis of Residence: This will inflict hatred among the people of the country on the basis of domicile and may result in armed or unarmed conflict in the people of different states.
The Constitutional Issues
This reservation also violates the “Constitution of India”. Article 16(2) of the constitution of India prohibits discrimination against the purpose of employment on the basis of religion, caste, sex, descent, birthplace, residence, or any of them. However, the constitution of India only speaks about employment in the public sector. But it only allows employment-related subjects only under the control of the state or parliament. As stated by Andhra Pradesh High Court, this move is unconstitutional but it needs to be heard on the merits. So if this bill is opposed and represented strongly in court, then this bill could be termed unconstitutional.
The Way Forward
This is a very encouraging step that politicians are committed to fulfilling the promises they had made in their election manifestos. However, politicians and the political parties must understand and read the constitution before announcing any electoral promise to their voters. No one is above the constitution and should respect such violations that need to be challenged in the court.
The quota in all private companies may be unconstitutional but this can be validated in those companies who had directly enjoyed the benefits from the state governments. In fact, the government must come up with legislation that if a company asking for favor or support from the government, then such companies must hire more locals in their company or provide skill training to the locals. This type of legislation can prevent such type of debate and may be encouraged by almost all peoples around the countries.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): IASCurrent Affairs
Question No. 1: Recently which state has passed a bill for quota in private jobs?
Answer: In November 2020, the Haryana assembly had passed Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020 that guarantees a 75% of reservation quota in private jobs. In the first week of March, this bill got approval from State Governor Satyadev Narayan Arya.
Question No. 2: Which state was first to pass an order supporting reservation quota in private jobs for locals?
Answer: Gujarat government had passed a similar resolution stating 85% reservation quota in private jobs in 1995. However, it was never implemented. Maharashtra (80%), Karnataka (75%), and Madhya Pradesh (70%) had passed such laws and got challenged in court.
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