A few weeks ago, the Haryana government passed an act to enable 75 per cent job reservation for local youth in the private companies in the state. At that time, many companies based in Gurugram were reportedly angry with the government and were planning to shift to Noida or Greater Noida. The economic hub of Uttar Pradesh was set to benefit immensely from the Haryana government’s regressive legislation, but instead of capitalising on the opportunity, the government of Uttar Pradesh is now following the Haryana government’s move.
The Greater Noida Development Authority passed a circular mandating “more than or equal to 40 per cent employment to local employees” in the industries across the authority area.
The industries and their representatives are, obviously, not happy with the government’s decision and many of them pointed out that cities like Noida and Greater Noida have been built by immigrants. “There was no major old city in this area. The migrant skilled and unskilled workers made their way to this region and made it what it is today. Reducing migrant influx will not only hamper the supply of working hands in the corporate sector but will also affect the growth of the city. We need to have a free hand in hiring professionals for our companies so we can do our business and pay taxes for the betterment of the city,” said Rahul Lal, a corporate leader and a member of the Global Association for Corporate Services (GACS).
Sameer Saxena, the founder member of the GACS, also criticised the move of the Greater Noida Development Authority and said, “There needs to be more clarity on who is a local. Do all those who have a rent agreement or local address proof fall in this category? How will we hire 40 per cent of our workforce from a small group of people? This will lead to industries avoiding setting up in the city. In the Business Process Outsourcing (BPOs) and Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPOs) companies, we have unskilled employees but all of them require impeccable English skills – spoken and written. How will we ensure 40 per cent local reservation in that?”
Such policies to reserve jobs for locals in Noida will compel entrepreneurs and industries to look for employees within the state and it places an extra burden on companies to become inward-looking. It must be borne in mind that in today’s era, industries cannot survive with unskilled or manual labour. This, by extension, means that the industries might not be able to practically access the vast demographic dividend of India consisting of technically skilled and qualified individuals, which would in turn directly affect the level of industrial growth and investments.
A pertinent question that arises here is whether all the states which are considering enacting legislation can boast off premier institutions producing highly skilled and qualified individuals matching industrial standards?
Moreover, this pattern could end up unleashing a new era of quota politics in terms of reservation of private jobs for locals in Noida. The fact remains that even if a quota is actually needed in the case of some of the states, the temptation of political leaders to replicate such quotas in their states in a politically charged atmosphere can never be ruled out. Especially, when polls are around the corner, the incumbent government might resort to a tactic of doling out such quotas. All this will end up putting unnecessary restrictions on the industry leaders limiting the talent pool they can choose from.