By reserving jobs in the private sector for natives, Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh has provided arsenal to many states where there is a demand for reservation for locals, like in Karnataka and Bihar. Deshmukh on Monday asked district collectors to implement the government order to ensure 80 per cent jobs in industrial units for locals.
Only two other states, Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh, have similar provisions. The former reserves 70 per cent jobs for locals, the latter 80 per cent in Telengana. But implementation has been a problem. In fact, the Uttarakhand government doesn't even have a record of the number of locals provided jobs since the order was issued four years ago.
Deshmukh's move follows the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's championing of the cause of Marathis with its anti-north Indian campaign.
A central government official, who didn't want to be named, said if this happened, Maharashtra would be the first state to strictly enforce reservation of jobs for locals in the private sector.
In most other states, reservation for locals is only in government jobs. It ranges from 75 per cent in Jharkhand to 100 per cent in Himachal Pradesh and J&K.
That is not the case in industry, where migrants are employed. "Most states ask industry to give preference to locals but haven't imposed any reservation," said a consultant with the Planning Commission.
The Orissa government, in its Relief and Rehabilitation policy 2006, stipulated that industries would give jobs to at least one member of a family whose land had been acquired to set up industry. Thereafter, preference would be given to locals and if there weren't enough applicants, outsiders would be considered.
In Punjab, hiring people for industrial jobs is the prerogative of industry. "Finding local industrial labour is difficult. Therefore, one would find the majority of workers are from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Himachal," said a Punjab government official.
A Labour Ministry official said labour laws don't prescribe criteria for recruitment even though governments stipulate some norms for displaced people. "The percentage of people covered under R&R policy aren't more than 30 per cent of the total work force covered under the policy," he said.
However, political parties have made reservation for locals in private jobs an election issue. In Karnataka, the Janata Dal-Secular promised 30 per cent IT jobs for Kannadigas. It never happened.