In its manifesto for the Telangana assembly polls released on Friday, the Congress has promised 75% reservation for residents of the state in private-sector jobs. Hours later, however, the Punjab and Haryana High Court struck down a Haryana law implementing the same promise.
Reservation based on domicile in private-sector jobs has always been a sticky subject and several industry associations have spoken against it in the past, arguing that it is against the principles of justice and equality guaranteed by the Constitution. They have insisted that eligibility for such jobs should be based on merit and not where the person resides.
When NDTV raised these issues with two Congress leaders in Telangana, they said the idea is feasible and will be implemented after holding discussions with stakeholders. They emphasised that Telangana has a wealth of human capital and companies will not be deterred by the plan as long as they get skilled workers.
Congress leader and head of the party’s manifesto committee D Sridhar Babu said, “It is definitely feasible. We will put it into action after we sit across and try to talk to various stakeholders who contribute to our economy. We will convince them and then implement our manifesto promise. Any industry requires a skilled force and that is what our youth in Telangana are. Industry will welcome them,” he said.
Echoing Mr Babu’s comments, Congress leader and former Lok Sabha MP Ajoy Kumar said it is important for local residents to get jobs.
“There are lots of competent people in Telangana, let’s first identify them. Our view is simple, entry-level jobs, engineers, Java programmers, anything else, why isn’t it local? There are so many engineering colleges, so many talented people. If you do a quick dipstick in Tamil Nadu… they employ local people and it’s one of the manufacturing hubs of this country. So, all this is a myth. No capital gets scared, industries go where they can make money,” Mr Kumar asserted.
Polling for Telangana’s 119 Assembly seats will be held in a single phase on November 30 and the counting of votes will take place on December 3.
Striking down the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act, the Punjab and Haryana High Court termed it unconstitutional. The Act, which underwent several changes after it was passed in 2020, provided for 75% of private-sector jobs with a monthly salary or wages of less than Rs 30,000 being reserved for people with a resident or domicile certificate. The domicile requirement had also been brought down from 15 years to five.
The petitioners had argued that the sons-of-the-soil concept behind the law was an infringement of the constitutional rights of employers. They had also said that the Act was against the principles of justice, equality, liberty and fraternity enshrined in the Constitution.
Another concern was the impact the Act would have on the development of industry in Gurugram, which is one of the biggest Information Technology hubs in India.