Yediyurappa govt announces Kannadiga quota in jobs, but it’s likely to run into SC hurdle – ThePrint

Bengaluru: The decision by the BJP government in Karnataka to reserve jobs for ‘Kannadigas’, in both the public and private sector, addresses a long-standing demand by pro-Kannada groups but could face legal hurdles.
The government has set aside Group C and D category jobs for ‘Kannadigas’ while also making it clear that priority will be given to those from the state for employment in the private sector. This, in effect, means that only ‘Kannadigas’ will be recruited in the Group C and D categories that includes those who work as mechanics, clerks, accountants, supervisors, peons, helpers and other office staff.
The government decision was announced by Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy during the assembly session on 24 September. Madhuswamy said the government has issued a directive that the natives of the state should be given priority, not just in government departments or Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) but also private companies.
This, he said, is a step taken to protect job opportunities for ‘Kannadigas’.
The directive has also stressed on the fact that preference should be given to Kannadigas in the A and B category, which includes those in management-level positions in a company.
“This will be applicable across all industries and companies regardless of whether they have availed benefits and concessions offered by the government,” Madhuswamy told ThePrint. “We have analysed the Andhra Pradesh model and will try and replicate it.”
According to the directive, any person who has stayed in the state for more than 10 years and has studied Kannada as a language until Class 10 is eligible to be called a ‘Kannadiga’.
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While the government has made the announcement, it could face legal challenges in implementing it. A source in the government admitted that there could be legal challenges in implementing the directive.
“The Supreme Court order in June could be a major hurdle,” the source said. “The apex court in June this year had stated that ‘reservation is not a fundamental right’. It also indicated that no government can force companies to hire people.”
The source also said that the government has no specific mechanism to keep a tab on whether private companies are adhering to the directive.
Labour Minister Shivaram Hebbar, however, said that the government has already begun the process to implement the decision. “We are working on various aspects and ensuring there is effective implementation without legal hurdles,” he said. “We will try and implement the recommendations of the Sarojini Mahishi report as much as possible.”
The Sarojini Mahishi report of 1986 had recommended 100 per cent reservation in Group C and D jobs for Kannadigas. Headed by former Union minister Sarojini Bindurao Mahishi, the first woman MP from Karnataka, the committee had made 58 recommendations.
Some of the recommendations included 100 per cent reservations for Kannadigas in all PSUs; 100 per cent reservation for Kannadigas in group C and D jobs, be it central government departments or PSUs operating in the state; a minimum of 80 per cent reservation in Group B and 65 per cent quota in Group A jobs and private industries to appoint local people on priority.
So far, a section of the private sector appears to have to reconciled to the directive. C.R. Janardhana, president of the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce & Industry, said that the decision by the government was necessary. “We plan to issue a circular to ensure that companies adhere to the directive,” he said.
First preference for Kannadigas and reservation for the “born kannadigas” has been a long-standing demand by activists in the state.
Former Kannada Development Authority chairman S.G. Siddaramaiah told ThePrint that “there has been a huge influx of people from other states and that has reduced job opportunities for Kannadigas”.
“Kannadigas were close to 27 per cent of Bengaluru’s population. Over the last decade, the percentage has dropped to 21 per cent, which is a clear indicator that there is a drop in the number of Kannadigas getting jobs,” he said.
Arun Javagal, a member of the pro-Kannada organisation, Banavasi Balaga, said private sector firms were enjoying concessions from the government but weren’t doing anything to ensure employment for local residents.
“There are two types of companies — those supported by the government that enjoy several benefits. There are also companies that don’t get direct support from the government but are able to operate due to certain concessions that are provided,” he said. “This is done so as to ensure increased employment amongst Kannadigas.
“But if companies avail the concessions and then provide jobs to those from other states, the whole purpose of supporting the company by the government does not make sense,” he added. “This effort by the government is to ensure that they (companies) give first preference to the people of Karnataka.”
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Dear Kannadigas,
For Heaven’s sake, do not trust these announcements. These are all for political gains. All Chief Ministers, irrespective of Party affiliations, will make such announcements knowing fully well that the the Bills may not stand the scrutiny of Courts of Law. If Courts dismiss such announcements the Leaders will say, We tried, but Courts put a block.
Shame on them
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