22/12/2016 9:38 AM IST | Updated 22/12/2016 11:33 AM IST

Karnataka Govt Seeks 100% Reservations For Kannadigas In Private-Sector Blue-Collar Jobs: Report

IT and BT industries have been exempt from the rule for now.

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah.

In a move obviously intended to appease local sentiments, the government of Karnataka is seeking 100% reservations for Kannadigas in all blue-collar jobs in all private sector industries that secure concessions due to the state's industrial policies, The Times of India reported.

The draft amendments to the Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules of 1961, released by the labour department of the state, pledge this new move, from which information and bio technology companies have been exempted. All other industries that refuse to comply with these rules will lose the concessions enjoyed by them from the government.

The amendment will be implemented once the law department gives it approval a second time, though such a short-term appeasement policy may lead to lasting grievances.

Karnataka Labour Minister Santosh Lad told ToI that his department would show leniency to companies that employ 70% Kannadigas to all white and blue collar jobs -- else they must employ 100% Kannadigas in all of the latter positions. "We're not saying they have to pick a Kannadiga if there is none for the job. But we're insisting that private industries employ Kannadigas as the first option," he also clarified.

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But the matter may not be as simple and logical when deep-rooted feelings of neglect are involved. Since Bengaluru became the hub of IT and BT industries, the city has seen an influx of workforce from outside Karnataka -- in fact, from all over the world. As a result, once a pristine pensioners' paradise, the city has become a traffic nightmare, its demography has shifted from being a Kannada-speaking majority to involve a sizeable population of non-Kannadigas.

The labour department has been careful not to mess with the powerful IT and BT lobbies, which have massively improved the gross domestic product of the state. These industries are anyway not covered under the Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules of 1961 for a period of five years from 2014.

What it has asked instead amounts to unilateral reservation for Kannadigas in the workforce, irrespective of questions of merit, availability or the possibility of finding better candidates who may be outsiders to the state.

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