The Haryana Assembly passed a Bill Thursday to reserve 75 per cent of private sector jobs in the state for residents of Haryana amid objections from not just the Opposition but also a legislator of the JJP which is part of the BJP-led ruling alliance.
Once it becomes law, the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020 — it was a promise made by the JJP before the 2019 state elections — will apply to companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, partnership firms etc. located across the state.
Maruti Suzuki India chairman R C Bhargava told The Indian Express: “Both CII and Maruti had represented (to the authorities) when this draft proposal was published that this is not something which is in the interest of industry. Haryana may lose investments as a result. We stand by our previous stand. We feel that it will affect the competitiveness of industry.”
The Bill states that “every employer shall employ 75 per cent of the local candidates with respect to such posts where the gross monthly salary or wages are not more than Rs. 50,000 or as notified by the government, from time to time. Provided that the local candidates may be from any district of the State, but the employer may, at his option, restrict the employment of local candidates from any district to 10 per cent of the total number of local candidates”.
It was opposed by JJP MLA from Narnaund, Ram Kumar Gautam, who called it a “ridiculous legislation” and “100 per cent wrong”.
“You can make any number of laws. But the fact is that to harvest crops, even today we get people from Bihar and other states. Rather, people from Haryana spend six months in a year, protesting and destroying industry. Why do you want to make such laws? This entire country is ours. If any brother comes from any other state to work, how can you stop him. Tomorrow, if our children go to another state, they will not be allowed to work there. Where will our children go in that case? I do not agree with it at all,” Gautam told the House.
Despite objections, opposition and demands to drop or amend certain clauses of the Bill, it was passed because of the majority that the BJP and JJP enjoy in the 90-member House.
The Bill states that a designated portal shall be made on which local candidates and the employer will have to register and “no local candidate shall be eligible to avail the benefit unless he registers himself for the designated portal”.
Opposing the Bill, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda objected to the clause that the industry shall have discretion to employ at least 10 per cent of its employees per district.
“There is already a similar clause that was brought in during our tenure. HSIIDC does not give clearance to any industry unless the industry gives an affidavit that it will employ people from Haryana. How can another Bill be brought unless we remove that clause from HSIIDC? How will the government do that? I strongly object to this 10 per cent restriction… the government should make it overall 75 per cent reservation, and remove the 10 per cent per district clause,” he said.
Responding to Hooda’s objection, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar said, “It is correct that such a clause exists in HSIIDC. It has been there during our six-year tenure too. But the fact is that it was not properly monitored during any government’s tenure because it was not a legislative clause. When we started monitoring it, we found that there is a need to make it a legislative clause. We need to protect the industry’s interests too.”
Citing examples, Khattar said, “Maruti had already shifted one of its facilities out of Haryana. In fact, Maruti wanted to shift all its plants out of Haryana. They told us that people of Haryana do not suit them. But we held talks with them. I assured them that any difficulty they face, we shall take care of it. A few days ago, Honda too highlighted such an issue. Yes, we have left it to the industry’s discretion that they should recruit at least 10 per cent per district, but the remaining employees can be from across Haryana. We can check the records of any industry in Gurgaon and Faridabad and find out how many employees from other places work there. We shall find that the maximum labour is from other states”.
“We get two things from industry – revenue and employment. Today, because of GST, we do not get any revenue except for value addition. GST goes to the place where the product is consumed. Charm of revenue from industry is not there anymore. There is only one charm left… due to industry, people of our state shall get employment. There are 22 districts, 10 per cent from each district. It will add to 220 per cent,” he said.
“We are only giving the industry the discretion to keep at least 10 per cent from the same district. It is up to the industry to employ more from the same district. There is no upper cap,” he said.