Criticising the Congress for demanding “allowance” for unemployed youths in the state, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Tuesday said that his government will soon introduce a law that mandates industries set up in the state to ensure that 80 per cent of the workforce are Gujaratis.
State government officials said the government is trying to fine-tune the definition of “domicile” in the state.
“Those who set up business in Gujarat, including the service sector, will have to ensure that 80 per cent of the jobs are given to Gujaratis. The state government is in the process of making such a law,” Rupani said at an event in which he gave away “agreement letters” to over 8,500 youths under the Mukhyamantri Apprenticeship Yojana.
Apart from locals comprising 80 per cent of the workforce, the state government also plans to ensure that 25 per cent of those hired are from the area or region where the industry is set up, Rupani said. “We are bringing such a law. This will provide benefits to the local residents, including local engineers, computer-literates etc,” he said.
In April 2017, The Indian Express had reported that 92 per cent of the workforce (total 8.23 lakh jobs) were locals in about 4,700 large industrial units in the private sector in Gujarat. In the state government-controlled establishments, the percentage of locals was as high as 98.9.
According to a government resolution passed in March 1995, locals are defined as people living in the state for the last 15 years. The criterion has now been reduced to seven years.
As per the original resolution, all private, state and Central government entities in Gujarat have to ensure that 85 per cent of jobs in the workers’ grade are reserved for local residents — the percentage can be 50 per cent for managerial and supervisorial positions.
Asked about the CM’s comments, a senior government official told The Indian Express that under the existing policies of the state government, it is mandatory for industries to employ 85 per cent locals in their workforce. However, the state government is in the process of fine-tuning the definition of who can be described as domicile resident of Gujarat, the official said.
“The rule is already there but there is no Act to back it up and penalise those who violate it,” said Vipul Mitra, Additional Chief Secretary, Labour and Employment Department, Gujarat.
Another state government official confirmed the development and stated: “The current definition of resident is too broad. So local residents do not get the necessary benefits at times. The government is thus trying to redefine and clearly state in the Act who can be treated as a domicile.”
In his speech on Tuesday, Chief Minister Rupani also criticised the Congress on the issue of unemployment.
“Friends in Congress has been demanding unemployment allowance because… Those unemployed should be given work. To keep the youths unemployed by giving them an allowance is the Congress line of thought. BJP is trying to ensure that the unemployed get work and is working towards the goal with a positive attitude.” Rupani said.