The Congress government in Karnataka has done the unthinkable. They have proposed a 100% reservation for locals from Karnataka, i.e. Kannadigas who are domiciles of Karnataka in private sector blue collar jobs in factories and manufacturing facilities. They have also proposed a 5% reservation for disabled people who also have to be a Kannadiga.
However, the IT-BT (Information Technology and Biotechnology) industries have been exempted from this policy of the Government. When questioned by journalists and industry observers if this amounts to racism in jobs, the Karnataka Labour Minister Santosh Lad clarified that private sector must hire Kannadigas, but if they do not get any applications from Kannadigas, they are free to hire anyone that they please. He further clarified that it will either be this policy or a 70% reservation in all jobs that is blue and white collar jobs.
What most people are worried about is that this policy can be easily twisted or misunderstood to fine corporates who may actually be facing a problem in getting candidates who have the skills required and experience required for the job. Many corporate lobbyists have said that instead of keeping hard policies, it is better to incentivize corporates for the Kannadigas they employ.
There are many non IT-BT companies in Bangalore, especially startups who do not have deep pockets to comply with a byzantine maze of laws and regulations. This has truly opened a Pandora’s box for corporate who may now reassess their planned investments in the country’s startup capital Bengaluru. Many CEOs have complained that it is impossible to hire Kannadigas even if they want to as there are not enough skilled blue collar workers in the state.
The proposal has received the approval of Chief Minister Siddaramaih, labour Minister Santosh Lad and it just needs a cabinet nod after the Karnataka Law department. It is just a matter of time before this proposal becomes the new law.