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The Tyranny of Reservation is Back


Those of you who’ve been following the news, you would have read in early July that the Haryana Cabinet approved a proposal for drafting the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Ordinance 2020, to provide 75 percent reservation for residents of the State in private sector jobs.

The move has already created a furor. It will earmark jobs fetching upto Rs 50k per month for local candidates in private companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, and the likes. There are other clauses which stipulate that no more than 10 percent need be hired from one district, and many aver that this is a kind of relaxation. Really? In the next Cabinet meeting the proposal will come up for hearing and we are given to understand that if passed, non-compliance will attract punitive measures. 

Can this be a good idea?

If the State of Haryana won’t encourage talent mobility then what stops the other States and Union Territories to follow suit?

We will end up building walls and it will lead to a great amount of hostility and divisions within India. In sectors like automobile, e-Commerce and IT, Haryana is a hot bed of growth and opportunity, and trying to keep “outsiders” also means keeping talent away and creating boundaries in hearts & minds of countrymen.

The pandemic has led to job losses, and particularly those in the annual income bracket of 8 – 10 lakh rupees or less have been affectedseverely. If the mobility of talent is restricted, it will lead to financial distress for those who are already displaced and need a job right away in any part of the country.

Prime Minister Modi has rightly sounded the clarion call for Atmanirbhar Bharat and it is for all of us to start acting in that direction and be self-reliant. But, self-reliance is the national agenda and it should not lead to friction between states. Business & commerce is the engine of talent mobility and capital inflow and forms the bulwark of economic growth.  

Poll gain & fame

We understand that the 75 percent quota for locals is a poll promise made by Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) supremo Dushyant Chautala during the 2019 Haryana Assembly Elections. His newly formed party had secured ten seats in the elections and later formed an alliance with BJP which had emerged as the single largest party in the state. Dushyant Chautala is the Deputy CM and we realise that political maneuvering is at play here which goes beyond the reasoning of plain Jane economics, trade & commerce.

Some industries want the Haryana government to reconsider their plans on reservation of private-sector jobs for local candidates. Prominent industry stakeholders believe that the new arrangement might complicate the business scenario of the state. CM Khattar has remained non-committal so far but therewill be a time soon when the draft policy will have to be given a serious thought.

Such an imposition will not be seen favourably by prospective investors and may even lead to the flight of capital if it goes through. To be sure, post-COVID, there will be a clamour to protect the social security of locals, particularly from an employment standpoint.

Interesting times lie ahead and we can only hope that powers that be see reason and don’t give in to short-sighted demands of vote banks which may prove to be pernicious for the state.

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