Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and his deputy Dushyant Chautala’s announcements about bringing a Bill in the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha session to “implement 75 per cent reservation for Haryanvis in the unskilled sector of industries across the state” come nine years after the then Congress government had made the same declaration in its industrial policy.
Documents accessed by The Indian Express revealed that at least since 2011, the Haryana government including Haryana Urban Development Authority (now changed to HSVP) and Haryana State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HSIIDC) had been taking affidavits from industrialists before allotting them industrial plots across the state. Even advertisements issued by the government seeking applications inviting industries had this “reservation clause” as one of the “pre-conditions” of the allotment.
“An undertaking to the effect that the applicant shall employ at least 75 per cent of his unskilled work force and give preference…to candidates from among Haryana domiciles,” read the government’s industrial policy way back in 2012.
Another document issued by the Haryana Urban Development Authority (HUDA), inviting applications for allotment of industrial plots in 2011, read, “An undertaking to the effect that the applicant shall, as far as possible, employ 75 per cent of unskilled work force and for other categories give preference to candidates from among Haryana domiciles in the proposed unit.”
Haryana’s former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, who is currently the CLP leader and Leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha, said, “Such announcements are nothing but old wine in a new bottle. I categorically remember that during my tenure, applicants were asked to give affidavits as a mandatory requirement for allotment of industrial plots. Once an affidavit was submitted, only then was the industrial plot allotted. At best, the current government can barely extend or improvise the already existing scheme. It will be utterly wrong for them to claim that they are ‘introducing’ 75 per cent reservation in the industry sector for Haryanavis, be it unskilled or any other category.”
The present government however claims it was not being implemented “as it should have been”. JJP chief Dushyant called the move a “fulfillment of one of his poll-promises” after Khattar told media in Delhi after the last Cabinet meeting a fortnight ago, that the government was “keen” on implementing the 75 per cent reservation for Haryanvis in the industrial sector.
In the same media-briefing while talking about 75 per cent reservation clause, Khattar too admitted that “such a provision already exists in the government, but its implementation needs to be strengthened”.
The state government, which now says it shall be bringing a Bill in this regard in Haryana’s forthcoming Budget session, is considering a three-year period for industries to train existing employees. According to the deputy CM, “the Bill is being given final touches”.
“Soon after this, industry owners will raise the issue of skilled labourers. They will say they are not getting workers for their specific needs and thus may deny jobs to people of Haryana. In this scenario, we will ask them to train existing employees as per their requirements,” a senior officer told The Indian Express.
To rule out any possibility of defiance, the government is also likely to define the term “state’s residents” in the Bill. “Applicant should have state domicile (resident) certificate to avail the benefit of reservation. The chief secretary’s office has already issued detailed instructions to explain who could have a domicile certificate in the state,” an officer said. Domicile certificates are issued to residents born in the state or living in the state for the past 15 years.
After BJP fell short of the majority mark in 2019 Vidhan Sabha polls, it entered into an alliance with JJP, which won 10 seats in its maiden Vidhan Sabha contest in Haryana. To cement the alliance, Dushyant was given the post of deputy CM and a JJP MLA was accommodated in the Cabinet.
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