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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Locals’ rights over resources must be upheld

The law mandating jobs for Haryana residents is a step towards ensuring their economic security.

Written by Dushyant Chautala |
Updated: March 13, 2021 8:44:37 am
Haryana quota law is a stepping stone towards boosting the state’s economy and creating job opportunities for local residents. (Illustration: C R Sasikumar)

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the general global slowdown, unemployment has become a major concern worldwide. The state of Haryana, too, has been unable to escape the wrath of this economic crisis. However, as the world’s economies struggle to bounce back, Haryana has been taking steady strides towards change and development.

Land acquisition for urbanisation and industrialisation along with the inclusion of substantial parts of the state within the National Capital Region (NCR) has left little scope of employment opportunities for the youth of the state in the agriculture sector. Though skilled labour was available locally, there weren’t enough jobs in the private sector. To ensure the gainful employment of its youth, the state government introduced the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, 2020. With the influx of private sector ventures in the state, the immense employment opportunities for the youth, who were traditionally engaged in agricultural activities, could not be ignored.

It is through earnest efforts to keep the promise that I had made during the last assembly election that the rights of the youth of the state have been upheld through this Act. With the guidance from the ideals of Chaudhary Devi Lalji and staying true to his legacy, I am committed to fulfill every promise that I have made to my people.

This law is a stepping stone towards boosting the state’s economy and creating job opportunities for local residents, with the Haryana government ensuring that employers harness the skills of the local youth, in the larger interest of the public.

This law does not benefit the Haryana youth alone. It endows employers with great benefits, through access to a qualified and trained local workforce. Having local employees will reduce absenteeism, dependency on migrant labourers and crime rate in the society.

An incentive of Rs 48,000 per person per year is being provided to employers in Haryana who hire people from the state under the Haryana Enterprises and Employment Policy, 2020. Apart from this, big incentives are being given to the industries for setting up their units in interior blocks of the state. There have been eight rounds of discussion with representatives from the industry before framing the employment guarantee bill. We made sure that the people who are going to benefit from the Bill should be a part of it. Many clauses were added to the Bill as per feedback from them. It has been a rewarding journey thus far, as bringing business to the state and generating employment goes hand in hand towards a prosperous Haryana.

It is noteworthy that Haryana is neither the only nor the first state to endorse employment for local youth. Several states like Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra, too, have similar policies that ensure that their youth is gainfully employed.

In fact, Maharashtra has made special provisions for employment on the basis of language while the Haryana Enterprises and Employment Policy, 2020 does not deprive anyone of the opportunity of employment on the basis of their caste, creed, sex, language and their social status. Haryana has made classifications based on domicile which does not violate any provision of the Constitution. The subject of “domicile-based benefit” has been considered, recognised and upheld by the Supreme Court in various judgments. It is important to note, however, that providing benefit to any citizen or a class of citizens on the basis of their domicile is not the same as “place of birth” or “place of residence”.

The speed at which the Haryana government is working for the welfare of its citizens is bound to ensure that over the next decade, the state will have sufficient infrastructure, skilled manpower and job opportunities for everyone. Keeping this in mind, this legislation contains a “sunset clause” which means that this Act will cease after 10 years of its enactment.

With a view to ensure that people with suitable skillset are hired to positions that require it, relief has been given in some cases. The industry can easily approach the district commissioner and seek permission to hire from other states. Also, the industry has been given the right to restrict hiring from one district to 10 per cent.

When it comes to ease of doing business, Haryana ranks among the top states in India. The state government is committed to create a conducive environment through its policies and fiscal incentives. The state can pride itself on how this Act maintains balance — providing benefits to both, the employer and the employee.

Haryana, an agrarian state, has allocated its resources for industry to ensure balanced and secure economic growth. It is not possible to commit to development without a sense of belonging. According to news reports, a mere 25 per cent of people living in Gurugram have their votes registered in the city. They continue to be registered with their native places, which registers an increase in per capita income but does nothing for per capita spending. Alluding to the philosophy of socialism, the bedrock of the Constitution, the commitment of the state is to improve the quality of life of its citizens. It is the immediate society which has the paramount right over its resources.

When Article 21 provides the right to livelihood, no one can dispute it. Some economists may consider such a policy absurd. But as a socialistic measure and a vision of welfare, it is definitely a measure for ensuring social and economic security of the citizens of the state.

This column first appeared in the print edition on March 13, 2021 under the title ‘Development with belonging’. The writer is deputy chief minister of Haryana.

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