“Reservations, diversity policy”: J-K govt to regulate private sector employment

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The Jammu and Kashmir administration has planned to come up with a centralised portal that will essentially regulate the employment in the private sector of the erstwhile state, The Kashmir Walla has learnt.

Struggling with a high unemployment rate in J-K, the administration has devised a new strategy under an Information Tech-based feature, State Job Portal. A senior official in the administration told The Kashmir Walla that this centralised portal “will be like a job marketplace” for all the job vacancies in J-K.

The concept will work on bringing job-seekers and employers together on the platform, wherein an unemployed youth will be creating a ‘profile’ on the portal with his educational qualifications and skills, said Saurabh Bhagat, Secretary to Government Labour and Employment Department.

“Then all the jobs, including by Indian government or private companies, will have to be posted on the portal,” he said. “It will be mandatory for every private [company], like DPS [Delhi Public School] Budgam, to post vacancies.”

Any company that is registered under any act of the government will fall under the portal’s functioning. The portal will be officially launched by the Lieutenant Governor of J-K, Manoj Sinha, on 15 March.

Jobs and employment have been a heated topic since New Delhi abrogated the limited-autonomy of the erstwhile state in August 2019. The central government had termed articles 370 and 35A as the roadblock for development and opportunities in the twin regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

However, the articles had safeguarded the exclusive perks of the government services and employment to the natives of the regions — aka “state subjects”. The government introduced revised domicile legislation that broadened the definition and further included non-state subjects if they are either bureaucrats serving in J-K for the last ten years, and their children; any other person residing there for the last fifteen years; or have studied for a period of seven years and appeared in standards tenth and twelfth exam in a registered educational institute in J-K.

This has led to paranoia among the population who were fighting for the already scarce government jobs. Though the government says it has been racing to fill up the vacant posts to level its rising unemployment stats, Bhagat has been worried about the private sector.

“Ninety percent of the jobs or vacancies are in the private sector,” Bhagat told The Kashmir Walla. “The revolution can only come if there is transparency in the private sector.”

However, while the selection process of the employment will stay with the private companies, the government will be eyeing the implementation of the “diversity policy”. Bhagat explained further that “when the government gives any benefit to the company — for example, a school that is aided by the government — then they will have to follow a diversity policy, including reservations in employment.”

Upon infringement of the policy, the companies will be fined, and “their grants and affiliations will be cancelled”, Bhagat added.

“There will be a democracy. [This portal] will end nepotism,” Bhagat said. “So that [big business families] don’t employ their relatives but employ an outsider for the job.”

The portal follows a clone model of already existing state job portals like in Kerala. “It is a difficult, long-drawn process,” Bhagat said of the upcoming project. “The private sector needs to have a proactive approach that they have a responsibility towards the population; it will happen gradually.”

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