With elections round the corner, the state is keen to keep the Marathi manoos happy. And state Finance Minister Jayant Patil's announcement showed how far the Congress-led government will go to do this.
On Thursday, Patil announced in the state legislative assembly that 80 per cent jobs in companies that will now open units in Maharashtra must go to locals. “Anybody wanting to make any investment in Maharashtra will have to make a commitment that skilled, qualified locals will be given employment,” said Patil. "We will be strict and this will be a precondition while signing any memorandum of understanding."
Patil was replying to a discussion initiated by opposition leaders Ramdas Kadam and Eknath Khadse on what the state was doing to protect the interests of the local populace in the wake of rising migration.
The finance minister also defined the Marathi manoos. “It has to be a person who has been living in Maharashtra for more than 15 years and knows Marathi,” he said.
According to him, the District Industrial Centres (DICs) will work towards ensuring that new industrial units abide by these norms. Patil’s announcement is likely to evoke strong reactions from the business community, which has been resisting pressure from the government on hiring employees.
While the state cannot stop people from migrating to cities like Mumbai, Patil assured the Assembly it will do everything to empower locals. “Ensuring employment to locals will be an indirect clampdown on migrants,” he said.
Political parties have often raked up the Marathi manoos debate to woo local voters. The Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray unleashed an attack on north Indians In February for taking away local jobs and over-burdening Mumbai’s infrastructure.