A total of 573 companies, including private sector entities such as Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Adani Power, and Tata Motors as well as public sector undertakings like Airports Authority of India (AAI), Steel Authority of India (SAIL) and the National Dairy Development Board, had been found violating the Gujarat government’s norms mandating that 85 per cent of the workforce must comprise local residents.
The data, pertaining to the period between 2013 and 2017, was tabled in the Gujarat Assembly in September, in response to an unstarred question.
State Labour and Employment Minister Dilipkumar Thakore responded in writing to the question posed by Congress’s Tankara MLA Lalit Kagathara.
The firms were located in 14 districts, of which Bharuch topped the list with 123 errant firms, followed by Ahmedabad (112), Valsad (93), Kutch (68) and Surat (52). Year-wise analysis reveals that the violations were highest (129) in 2016. The firms have been sent letters, drawing their attention to the state government’s 24-year-old resolution on the employment of locals adopted in March 1995. The minister also said that local officials had held meetings with the firms.
According to the Government Resolution of the Labour and Employment Department, “Minimum 85% of the recruitments to the posts in the cadre of employees, workers and artisans and minimum 60% to managerial and supervisory posts in all the undertakings of the state government, as well as all the (private) industries being provided with incentives by the state government (located) in the state should be made from among the local residents.” The rule applies to companies that enjoy tax exemptions and subsidies, including for electricity, water and land.
Major firms found violating the norms in Bharuch were Reliance Industries Limited, CLP India Pvt Ltd, BASF India Pvt Ltd, ONGC Petro additions Limited (OPaL) and Torrent Pharmaceuticals. In response to a questionnaire sent to Reliance Industries regarding the violations at the company’s Gandhar Complex in Dahej, Senior Group President Parimal Nathwani wrote that Reliance Industries had always adhered to the norms. However, “the Gandhar Facility was acquired from IPCL, and post acquisition very few new recruitments have been undertaken by RIL,” his response said.
In Ahmedabad, large entities like Tata Motors, Ford India Pvt Ltd, Colgate Palmolive, Nivea India, Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Pvt Ltd, and Suzuki Motor Gujarat Pvt Ltd are among those without 85 per cent locals in the workforce. Public Sector Units like Airport Authority of India and Steel Authority of India are also among the violators.
Tata Motors’ spokesperson also issued a statement saying the company had always followed the state government’s norms. “In most categories, we exceed the compliance norms set by the state government,” the statement said. “The cumulative employment figures also include those employees who were transferred from Singur to Sanand.”
Similarly in Kutch district, companies like Adani Power, Asia Motor Works, Welspun India, Coastal Gujarat Power Ltd, and OPG Power Gujarat Ltd were among those found violating the norms between 2013-17. In Anand district, even milk cooperatives like GCMMF (Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation) and NDDB (National Dairy Development Board) had not hired enough locals.
NDDB Public Relations and Communications head Abhijit Bhattacharjee said in a statement that efforts were being made to recruit local persons who meet the job specifications and were ready to work in any part of the country. “In 2017, out of the total recruitment at staff level, more than 80% of the employees were locals. This percentage in 2016 was 62%,” he said. “At the officers’ level, the recruitment is done on an all-India basis and candidates meeting the job specifications are recruited for implementing the activities mandated under NDDB Act.”
Chinese firm TBEA Energy (India) Pvt Ltd (at Karjan), Larsen & Toubro Ltd (Vadodara unit) and ONGC were other errant companies. The Indian Express had reported in September 2018 that Chief minister Vijay Rupani was planning to bring in a law that would penalise industries failing to abide by the 85 per cent rule. As part of the reply in the Gujarat Assembly, the minister also said that between 2013 and 2017, the state government had provided jobs to a total of 40,59,892 local youth. The highest was in the year 2017 with 9,71,489 jobs for locals.