Unemployment around the world is on rise due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic and global slowdown. Haryana, too, is not untouched by this. Even the available skilled workforce of local people in the state is facing difficulties in getting jobs in the private sector.
Historically, the state of Haryana has been an agrarian society, i.e. agriculture-based economy, which now is being under transmission to take the shape of an industry-based economy. This urbanisation, industrialisation and inclusion of substantial parts of the state within the National Capital Region (NCR) has led to huge land acquisition. This has resultantly reduced the growth and employment opportunities in the agricultural sector. On the other side, the quantum of opportunities of employment in private sectors, industries, and factories has increased rapidly within the state. Thus, it was felt that the local unemployed population, that was traditionally engaged in agricultural activities, required a positive reinforcement from the state government to uplift them by ensuring their skill development and employment in the private sector. This was the intent behind the recent enactment of the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020.
This right, which our government has tried to vest with local candidates, was my promise during the last assembly election. Going by the legacy and ideals of Chaudhary Devi Lal, I am committed to fufil every promise made to my people.
Bid to boost state economy
With the enactment of this law, in the interest of the public at large, the government of Haryana is going to encourage all employers in the state to boost local employment and improve its economy. This law provides tremendous benefits to the employers directly and indirectly through qualified and trained local workforce. Availability of suitable workforce, locally, would definitely enhance the efficiency of the industry, because the workforce is one of the major components for the development of an industrial organisation or factory. It would reduce absenteeism, dependency on migrant labourers, and crime rate in the society.
Even our new enterprises and employment promotion policy gives a handsome incentive of Rs 48,000 a year for hiring a person from the state of Haryana. Beside this, we have given huge incentives to the industries that fall within the interior blocks of the state. We had eight rounds of discussions with representatives from the industry while framing the employment guarantee bill, and added several clauses based on their feedback. We are moving simultaneously on both fronts — getting investment in the state and generating employment for our youth.
Pertinently, Haryana is neither the first nor the only state to give preference to local employment. In my knowledge, several states including Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra have in the past formulated policies with a mandate to reserve private jobs for local candidates.
Maharashtra, in fact, created reservation in jobs on the basis of language, whereas our Act does not deprive anyone of the opportunity on the basis of their caste, creed, sex, language or social status. We have made the classification on the basis of domicile, which does not violate any provision of the Constitution. The issue of ‘domicile-based benefit’ has been considered, recognised and upheld by the Supreme Court in catena of judgments. Pertinently, providing benefit to any citizen or a class of citizens on the basis of their domicile cannot be equated either with “place of birth” or “place of residence”.
The sunset clause
Another aspect which needs to be given due consideration is that this legislation contains a “sunset clause”, which means that this Act will cease after 10 years of its enactment. We strongly believe that the pace and commitment with which our government is functioning for the welfare of its citizens, over the next decade, the state will have sufficient infrastructure, skilled workforce, and job opportunities for everyone. Thus, the positive reinforcement that we currently aim to provide would not be required in the future.
We have provided enough relief in cases where suitably skilled people are not found for any roles. The industry can easily approach the district commissioner and seek permission to hire from other states. Also, the industry has been given the right to restrict hiring from one district to 10 per cent, as was suggested by a top auto industry based in Gurugram.
Haryana is one of the best states in India in terms of the ease of doing business, and we are committed to creating a congenial environment through fiscal and policy incentives. But what would it all mean if we cannot provide employment to the youth of the state? There has to be reciprocity.
Allocation of resources also needs to be translated into gains in terms of employment generation. Haryana being an agrarian state has allocated its resources for the industry to ensure balanced economic growth. It is not possible to have a commitment to growth without having a sense of belongingness. About one third of people living in Gurugram have their votes registered in the city.
They keep their votes in their native states. Such practices may increase per capita income, but per capita spending doesn’t grow with it. If we go by the philosophy of socialism, the bedrock of the Indian Constitution, and the commitment of the state to wipe out the tears from every eye and provide quality life to its natives, it is the immediate society that has the utmost right over its resources.
When Article 21 provides the right to livelihood, then how can anyone transgress it? Such a policy may sound absurd to some economists, but as a socialistic measure and a vision of welfare, this law is just a way to ensure the social and economic security of the natives of Haryana.
The author is the current Deputy Chief Minister of Haryana. Views are personal.
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