Definition of ‘Kannadiga’ in draft notification draws flak


The clauses that define a ‘Kannadiga’ to be eligible for preferential employment in industries, in the draft notification amending the Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules, 1961, have run into trouble with Kannada groups and unions.

The draft notification, dated May 24, says the domicile requirement to be deemed a ‘Kannadiga’ would be ‘not less than 15 years’ of stay in Karnataka besides an ability to read and write Kannada, in the case of industries that take benefit or concession in any form, directly or indirectly, from the government. However, it says the requirement would be “not less than 10 years” of domicile and an ability to read and write the language, for industries that do not get any form of support from the government.

Some Kannada organisations have argued that this is watering down the spirit of the Sarojini Mahishi Report of 1986 that recommended job opportunities for Kannadigas in Karnataka. The report had put down not leas than 15 years as the criteria without relaxation and the person should have studied Kannada as a subject till class 10.

In the letter addressed to the Labour Department, many eminent personalities, including Gandhian H S Doreswamy, folklore scholar Go Ru Channabasappa, M Chidananda Murthy, G Ramakrishna, Dr. Siddalingaiah, Dr Vijaya, M H Krishnaiah, and Doddarange Gowda, have accused the government of disregarding the spirit of committee. Kannada Geleyara Balaga, a Kannada organisation, has cautioned of an agitation if the government failed to withdraw the draft notification.

According to M D Harigovind, general secretary of All-India Trade Union Congress, the Labour Department is providing private sector companies a way to deny job for Kannadigas by tweaking revised recommendations of the Sarojini Mahishi Committee report.

The Kannada Development Authority (KDA) has urged the government to immediately alter the clause, said S G Siddaramaiah, chairman of KDA.

He said the notification has not only diluted the domicile clause, but also the important clause on SSLC. “This dilution would help private sector companies to deny opportunities to Kannadigas,” said  Siddaramaiah.

Meanwhile, the issue hit the social media and a campaign on Twitter with #Karnatakajobsforkannadigas was launched recently.

Santosh Lad, former Labour Minister, had mooted the idea of according priority to Kannadigas while recruiting new employees in the private sector and sought to amend Karnataka Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Rules, 1961, in December 2016.

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