Is the Karnataka government going to bring in a policy for 100% reservations for Kannadigas in private companies, for blue collar jobs? The short answer, is no.
The long answer begins with the fact that the state cannot bring in such a reservation policy, as it is unconstitutional, according to the state Law Minister.
Speaking to TNM, Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister TB Jayachandra said that while there was a proposal to bring in an amendment to the Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standard Rules) Act, to provide 100% reservation to Kannada speakers, the proposal was shot down by the Law Department early in September.
The initial proposed law was to provide 100% reservation for all those who have studied Kannada as a subject from Class 1 to 10. The idea was proposed by the Kannada Development Authority Chairman SG Siddaramaiah.
“The proposed amendment was rejected by the Law Department as it violates the Right to Equality and Right to Equal Opportunity,” the Law Minister said.
Hence, the Labour Department has come up with a new scheme which incentivises private companies to hire Kannada speaking persons, TB Jayachandra added.
So what exactly is the new scheme that has been proposed? According to state Labour Minister Santosh Lad, the new proposal plans to monetarily incentivise private companies to hire ‘residents’ of Karnataka - those who have lived in the state for at least five to 10 years.
Speaking to TNM, the minister said that the government is planning to introduce a scheme titled Asha Deepa, where the government will contribute 16-18% of the salaries of Karnataka residents hired by private firms.
“The larger interest is, if someone hires these employees, we will pay 16-18% of the employee’s salary for two years. We’re helping the industry,” he said.
The minister added that not only will this help companies improve their profits, it’ll also incentivise them to not remove employees from their jobs in short periods of time.
“This is the larger interest that we should understand. Instead of using the word Kannada, you should look at the larger interest. It is something that nobody has done in India and we are trying to move (it). It is in the final stages, it may happen,” the minister told TNM.
The Minister said that the proposal is currently being scrutinised by the finance department and the state government would have to provide RS 200 crore for the scheme to kick-off.
He dismissed the information which appeared in the media about the government planning to bring in a law which mandates 100% reservation for Kannada speakers.
“There is no meaning in using the word Kannada so much. ‘Localites’ are Kannadigas. Say I am from Maharashtra, or from Bihar. If I have lived in Karnataka for 5-10 years, then that person is a Kannadiga right? That’s what I meant. I’m not interested in simply creating a controversy. I don’t want to create a controversy,” he added.