The recent clarification by Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on 75 percent reservation for locals being applicable only for non-technical jobs has brought some respite to the IT/ITeS sector. But the industry is still far from being positive.
Industry members say there has to be a clear definition of what non-technical jobs are and how they are expected to comply with the requirement.
On March 2, the state government passed the Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, which mandates 75 percent reservation for locals in private sector jobs, where the salary is less than Rs 50,000 a month.
The IT/ITeS sector and tech industry argued that this would limit access to quality talent. Some companies were already thinking about moving their base from Gurugram to neighbouring hubs such as New Delhi, Noida or even Jaipur.
Allaying these concerns, Chief Minister Khattar, in a recent conversation with Moneycontrol, stated that the reservation rule would be applicable only for non-technical jobs.
Vikram Ahuja, co-founder, Talent500 by ANSR consulting, which helps global firms set up global capability centres in India, said that by clarifying that reservation is not applicable for skilled technical jobs, the government has ensured meritocracy in skilled jobs and also paved the way for more locals to get jobs.
But, while these clarifications are welcome, experts say that they are far from enough.
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Technical and non-technical jobs
Aditya Narayan Mishra, founder of staffing firm CIEL HR Services, said the move definitely shows that the government is open and has rethought the policy, which earned a backlash from the tech sector. But before the companies rejoice, the sector needs more clarity, he said.
“We need a better understanding on what defines technical and non-technical jobs,” he said.
For instance, it is not clear if the sales function in an engineering firm will be categorised as a technical or non-technical job. Also when IT/ITeS firms hire freshers, not all of them are hired for core technology roles.
“Some of the freshers are hired for non-technical roles such as business process functions,” pointed out Sunil C, Head, Specialised Staffing, Teamlease Digital.
In such cases, companies are not sure if they fall under the reservation requirement or not. So, fresher hiring in IT/ITeS companies will see challenges, he added.
Also read: Exclusive | Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar says 75% private sector reservation only for non-technical jobs
Khattar has explained that self-declaration from companies that they have complied with the law will suffice. He added that the labour commissioner would intervene only when there is a complaint against the declaration.
This again has created confusion. Experts asked how companies can self-declare without any mandate.
“Does this mean that we are at the mercy of labour officers?” asked an HR executive, who runs his own staffing agency based in Bengaluru. “In this case, the rule is open to subjective interpretation and that is a concern,” the executive added.
Experts also agree that rather than forcing companies to comply with reservation, providing incentives will encourage more of them to employ locals and invest in upskilling them.