The Karnataka Government has insisted the private firms to keep 80% of the positions in their organisations reserved for Kannadigas, the local population.
According to the Minister of State for Major and Medium Industries Jagadish Shettar, the BJP government is in talks with the private companies, of all scales, for setting up of such provisions which will enable the domiciles of Karnataka (local resident for at least 15 years) to land 80% of the ‘white-collar jobs’ in these firms.
The Government has already amended the Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules, 1961, through which 100% of the Group C and Group D jobs in the private sector would be reserved for the locals. Point to note here is that the law only gives a ‘priority’ to locals for these posts, and thus doesn’t compel the companies to hire Kannadigas.
The demand for reservation for the locals has been rising since 2014, and successive governments have made their efforts to make it a possibility.
According to some pro-Kannada groups, people from other states who are migrating to Karnataka and ‘hijacking’ the local opportunities have created a feeling of discontent among the locals. Especially the city of Bengaluru which needs ‘de-congestion’ as its 50% of the residents are ‘outsiders’.
What raises questions is whether such laws get the validation of our constitution? Isn’t it the violation of Article 14 (Equality before Law and equal protection of laws), Article 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or ‘place of birth’ (which is relevant in this case), and Article 16 (Equality of opportunity in matters of public employment)?
Earlier in 2016, the Law Department had cancelled the then in power Congress Government’s attempt to bring in 100% reservation in Group C and Group D posts, citing the violation of Article 15 and 16.
It is not the first time when such demands have overwhelmed the political realm and inclined the concerned state governments to take measures in order to ‘protect’ its native population’s interests.
Last year in July, the government of Andhra Pradesh passed the similar law that provisioned 75% of reservation for locals in private and public sector. In doing so, it also became the first state to provide reservation on such grounds.
The states of Goa, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh are also supposed to be moving in the same direction. In case of Maharashtra, several incidents of aggression against the non-Maharashtrians have often occurred.
Such populist approaches by certain state governments may ignite the similar demands in other regions of the country, and force the respective governments to take similar path which would not be viable as well as under national interests.