Reservation of jobs in private sectors

The BJP-led Haryana government on Tuesday approved a bill that reserves 75 per cent of jobs in the private sector for the people of the state. The legislation was passed by the state assembly last year. The new law will provide 75 per cent reservation to local candidates applying to private-sector jobs in the state that pay less than Rs 50,000 per month. The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020 will apply to companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, partnership firms etc. located across the state. It must be noted that the ordinance was one of the key promises made by the ruling alliance partner Jannayak Janta Party during the Assembly elections of 2019.
The new law also contains a clause that allows private companies to hire an employee from outside of the state if they do not find a suitable local candidate for the job. In that case, the company will have to inform the government about the step. It is a retrograde development that can catalyse the balkanization of India’s labour market. The law applies to all organisations which employ ten or more people. The law does carve out exceptions by allowing employers to seek permission for waivers if there are not enough qualified locals available. Haryana is not an exception. Andhra Pradesh assembly in 2019 passed a similar law. Nativism weakens the bonds that unite India and violates the fundamental right of Indians to seek a livelihood anywhere in the country.
This move will have a number of adverse effects. Among the more important ones is that it will defeat the underlying purpose of the legislation. It will drive jobs out of the state as it makes it unviable for businesses to follow the law in letter and spirit, reducing the total number of jobs available. The other consequence is that it will encourage informalisation of labour, as employers look for ways to both compete in the market and follow the law.
Apart from tackling unemployment among local people, the state government said the law will discourage the influx of migrants seeking low-paid jobs, which has a “significant impact” on local infrastructure and leads to the “proliferation of slums”. BJP, a party that claims to be nationalist, shouldn’t pander to nativism.  Haryana government should re-think its decision in the national interest.

- Prabhakar Purandare

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