Ever since the Supreme Court lifted the stay on implementation of 75 per cent reservation for local candidates in private sector jobs in Haryana, the state government seems to be taking a more aggressive approach to the decision. This ban was imposed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on February 3. While vacating the stay, the Supreme Court did not comment on the merits of the case, but it did ask the Punjab and Haryana High Court to decide the petitions filed by various industrial bodies in the matter within a month. Here, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar came out in defense of his government’s decision instead of waiting for the High Court’s decision. He says that it is the responsibility of the government to provide employment opportunities to the youth and his government cannot turn away from this responsibility.
The question is whether any state government in the name of this responsibility can reserve such a large part of the available employment opportunities for local candidates? Will other states be completely unaffected by this decision? And what if all the states start doing this? Wouldn’t this affect the interests of the industry? And above all, can reserving jobs like this be a successful recipe for eradicating unemployment in today’s era? The legal and constitutional aspects related to this decision of the state government will be decided in the court. But as far as providing employment opportunities is concerned, the latest trends not only in India but also in other economies of the world tell a different story. It should not be forgotten that we are currently passing through the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is a period of promotion of automation in the manufacturing process. Due to this the share of manufacturing sector in employment is decreasing everywhere.
Researchers from Azim Premji University in India looked at adjusting inflation rates in a study and found that in 1994 an investment of Rs 1 crore employed 33 factory workers, but in 2015 that number was reduced to just eight. Obviously, the policy of job reservation for local youth will not be able to change this trend. On the contrary, after such a policy is introduced in one state, the pressure on other state governments will also increase. States will be isolated and separatist sentiments will strengthen. Therefore, it would be better if the state governments focus on job opportunity creation instead of job reservation. In this era of rapid change in technology, the important question is the quality of labor. Obviously, governments can prove to be more useful if they make them able to take advantage of the available employment opportunities by providing appropriate training to the youth through investment in education.