Firms in Karnataka need not display Kannadiga staff count: Shivakumar | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Firms in Karnataka need not display Kannadiga staff count: Shivakumar

BySharath Sharma Kalagaru, Bengaluru
Feb 24, 2024 08:32 AM IST

Karnataka deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar on Friday dismissed state minister Shivaraj S Tangadagi’s statement that the government was considering making all multinational firms publicly display the number of Kannadigas employed in their offices, saying it was “impossible” to implement such ideas.

Karnataka deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar on Friday dismissed state minister Shivaraj S Tangadagi’s statement that the government was considering making all multinational firms publicly display the number of Kannadigas employed in their offices, saying it was “impossible” to implement such ideas.

Karnataka deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar. (ANI)
Karnataka deputy chief minister DK Shivakumar. (ANI)

“Bengaluru is a global city and is open for all. The whole world is looking at us and the government has not made any such plans. We will not think along those lines,” Shivakumar told reporters outside the legislative assembly.

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“Everyone can come here and work. We are just ensuring that 60% of signage boards in the state are in Kannada and there are no other plans than this,” he added, referring to the recent passage of a bill mandating 60% use of Kannada in signboards of businesses and establishments across the state.

Shivakumar also said that Tangadagi made the statement after he met Kannadiga activists who had demanded such a law. “That is the only reason he mentioned. We don’t have any such plans and we cannot consider such requests. It is not possible to implement such laws,” he said.

On Wednesday, Tangadagi, who is the minister for Kannada and culture, told the legislature that the Siddaramaiah-led government in the state is considering making all multinational companies publicly display the number of Kannadigas employed in their offices and will frame the rules for this measure soon.

His statements sparked a controversy as industry bodies and opposition leaders called it a government overreach that will hurt the image of India’s IT capital.

Tangadagi said all MNCs operating in the state must prominently display the number of Kannadigas employed on notice boards. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the revocation of permissions granted to these companies, he added.

The remarks came during a discussion on the Kannada Language Comprehensive Development (Amendment) Bill, which mandates that businesses need to have at least 60% of their signage in Kannada.

“There has been a discussion to ensure that industries put up display boards on the number of Kannadigas they have employed. We will frame rules for that,” Tangadagi told reporters outside the legislature.

The minister added that he was heading the committee formed to look into the measure. “We have secretaries of many departments and they have given suggestions. We will discuss and form the rules for industries and multinational companies,” he said.

Hours after Shivakumar’s remarks on Friday, Tangadagi told HT that he had only “mentioned the suggestions of several legislators on the progress of Kannada language” in the state.

Former deputy chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Bengaluru, CN Ashwath Narayan, however, said the state government staged a “drama” and had no real concern for the Kannadigas.

“The entire Congress government is full of theatre artists. They have no concern towards Kannadigas and are not committed to working towards development. When you are governing a state, you must stop thinking politically all the time,” Narayan said.

On Thursday, state information technology minister Priyank Kharge also said there were no such plans in the works. “There are some suggestions he (Tangadagi) received and he merely stated it and there is no further action,” he said.

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