Pro-Kannada groups call for Karnataka bandh, demand reservation for Kannadigas
Bengaluru: Pro-Kannada outfits today gave the BS Yediyurappa-led BJP government a new headache demanding implementation of the three-decade-old Sarojini Mahishi report that had suggested 100 per cent reservation for Kannadigas across all public sector units (PSUs) run by the state government.
The pro-Kannada outfits united under one umbrella called Karnataka Sangathanegala Okkoota today held a bandh across the state and added a new twist to the Mahishi report demanding job reservations even in the private sector.
The bandh was by and large peaceful except for stray incidents of stone-pelting on buses in Dakshina Kannada district. Normal life was disrupted only partially.
The Mahishi Committee, headed by former Union minister Sarojini Mahishi, was constituted in 1984 to recommend job opportunities for Kannadigas in Karnataka. It submitted the report two years later.
But the outfits now want all jobs to be reserved for Kannadigas, except senior/skilled positions if necessary. The outfits stopped short of demanding reservations in IT-BT sectors.
Just a few days ago, Labour Minister S Suresh Kumar had indicated that a bill to provide 75% reservation to Kannadigas in industries, MSMEs, joint ventures and public-private partnerships is ready for Cabinet approval.
But in the new draft to the government has conspicuously kept the IT-BT sector out of the reservation umbrella as top industry honchos had told the government earlier that their sectors survive on skills, not a reservation.
The present draft Bill is modelled on the one enacted in Andhra Pradesh called the Andhra Pradesh Employment of Local Candidates in Industries/Factories Act, 2019, passed in July last year.
Under the Karnataka Employment of Local Candidates in Factories, Shops, Commercial Establishments, Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises and Joint Ventures Bill, 2019, those who have been residing in Karnataka for over 15 years will get preference in employment in factories, shops, commercial establishments, Micro, Small, Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and joint ventures. Industries will have to provide a list of employees to the Labour department on a regular basis, in order to ensure compliance.
This is not the first time that Karnataka is making such a move. The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government had planned to provide a 100% reservation in all private industries, excluding IT-BT sector, which did not take off. In 2014, the Congress govt had also unsuccessfully pushed for 70 per cent reservation for all Kannadigas when it comes to employment in the private sector.