Industry speaks against ‘son of the soil’

With the state government bringing the “son of the soil” issue to the fore,insisting to dole out incentives to companies who employ locals,industry representatives are not amused.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published:February 28, 2009 2:54 am

With the state government bringing the “son of the soil” issue to the fore,insisting to dole out incentives to companies who employ locals,industry representatives are not amused.

Captains of industries in Bengal feel it is a populist move,which will neither help in drawing investments to the state nor land more jobs for the locals.

According to industry bodies,the step will not increase the number of locals to be employed by a firm as the companies setting up operations in the state already employ a considerable number of locals. “This initiative is being taken to appease the locals. Anyone who sets up an industry employs locals,as labourers cannot be imported,” said P R Agarwala,president of Bharat Chamber of Commerce.

“Whoever sets up industry here hires locals and this is also very cost effective,” said S Radhakrishnan,president of Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industries.

The associations also insist that though such preference can be extended to the lower level,but at the senior managerial level and executive level,this can be counterproductive to a company. Many also feel that the state’s image will not improve if locals are recruited in large numbers. “Narrowing the vision of the state is not good for its prestige. Though this has never happened in West Bengal,other states have been giving preference to locals,” said Anupam Shah,president of the Merchant Chamber of Commerce.

Sanjay Budhia,president of the Indian Chamber of Commerce,insists such a policy and training people with skills required by industry should go hand in hand. “Before claiming to get employed on the condition of being the son of the soil,the people should also have the skills required by the industries,” he said.

A few also analysed the initiative in terms of the global economic meltdown,where many nations are trying to reserve jobs for locals. Many industrial houses,who have had to deal with land acquisition,feel this will help in building confidence. “This policy will help garnering support of locals and will have lower levels of attrition,” said Biswadeep Gupta,Chairman of CII Eastern Region and CEO of JSW Bengal Steel.

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