On the political backfoot because of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s agitations for jobs for locals, the state government is scurrying to keep its Maharashtrian vote bank intact. It is formulating a policy to implement a 35-year-old order that reserves 80 per cent of jobs in new industries for locals.
Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh told HT: “We had made a provision for reserving jobs for locals much before. Now, we will set up committees headed by collectors in each district to ensure industries toe the line.”
The Industries Department will soon issue a revised government resolution to this effect.
“A standing instruction to opt for locals has already been issued to industries. A new order will incorporate some changes to the earlier norms,” said Chief Secretary Johny Joseph.
In 1973, the government had asked industries to give preference to locals while recruiting workers. The development commissioner of industries was supposed to monitor this 80 per cent reservation. Last March, state Finance Minister Jayant Patil had assured the reservation would be implemented. He had also called for Marathi signboards. But since then, he has remained silent on the issue, putting the onus on the Congress, which heads the Industry Department.
The government has been walking the tightrope between ensuring safety for north Indians and not alienating Maharashtrians. The delay in arresting MNS chief Raj Thackeray and repeated attacks on north Indian invited censure from Delhi.
Deshmukh had told HT he sympathised with the issue, but for him it was social, not political.