Himachal to go Haryana way on job quota for local youngsters

Updated on Nov 10, 2020 05:47 PM IST

A poll promise, BJP mulls 70% quota in jobs for natives in hill state that has an unemployment rate of 13.5%.

Hindustan Times/Shimla | ByGaurav Bisht and Naresh K Thakur

Close on the heels of the BJP-JJP government passing a Bill for 75% quota in the private sector for Haryanvi youngsters, the Himachal Pradesh government is considering introducing a legislation to provide 70% jobs for locals.

“We are studying what Haryana has done to see if a similar law can be implemented in Himachal Pradesh,” said state labour commissioner-cum-director of employment Neeraj Kumar.

Unemployment is a major poll issue in Himachal, which ranks fourth among states with the highest unemployment rate in the country, and parties, including the BJP, promised maximum jobs to Himachalis in the run-up to the 2017 assembly elections. The BJP’s Vision Document promised to “strictly implement the criteria of 70% jobs to Himachal youth in the industry”.

According to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), a thinktank, Himachal Pradesh’s unemployment rate in October was 13.5%. Haryana was still at the top at 27.3%, followed by Rajasthan at 24.1% and Jammu and Kashmir at 16.1%. The national average is 6.6%.


Kumar says the problem in Himachal Pradesh is the high salary expectations among youngsters, who prefer white collar jobs to working in industries and prefer heading out of the state for better pay.

Himachal Chapter of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) chairman Lt Col Shailesh Pathak (retd) says as a result, the state has a dearth of local skilled labour and the industry is forced to hire labour from other states. “The demand for industrial jobs is not as much here (in Himachal Pradesh). We overcome the shortfall in labour by hiring from other states,” he says.

He says the CII holds recruitment camps across the state, including the tribal areas, to hire workers for industries but the response has been low. “There are several units in the industrial areas of the state that need skilled labour but are not getting it locally,” he adds.


Former Congress minister GS Bali, who has been flagging the issue of unemployment, says the industry gets cheaper labour from other states so it does not need to recruit local youth.

“It should be mandatory for the industry to hire skilled workforce from Himachal first,” he says. Criticising the Jai Ram Thakur-led BJP government of failing to keep its poll promise, he says, “The government has made no efforts to ensure maximum jobs for locals in Himachal’s industries. Neither does it have any intention nor a comprehensive policy for this.”

Bali admits reserving 70% jobs for locals is a tall order as many youngsters are engaged in seasonal occupations. “Most jobs in the state are in the tourism and agriculture/horticulture sectors. During the lean tourist season, youngsters head towards agriculture. Industries demand round the year commitment, so not many youngsters give it preference,” he says.


According to the department of labour and employment, the number of registered unemployed youth in the state is a staggering 8,49,701 as on March 31, 2020. This is about 12% of the state’s total population. About 76,000 of them are postgraduates, 1.35 lakh graduates, six lakh matriculates and undergraduates, 30,000 under matriculates and 6,230 illiterate. More than 44% of those registered are women.

An estimated 60,000 new youngsters enter the market seeking jobs after completing their studies every year.

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