1) An alarming diktat.
Haryana’s new ‘75% jobs for locals’ law is a harbinger of doom.
GS-1: Social empowerment.
GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
1. The approval granted by Haryana governor Satyadev Narayan Arya 2020 to a job reservation Bill that provides 75% reservation in the private sector to those holding the domicile of the state militates against the idea of an integrated India.
- New Haryana Bill puts forth Domicile-based preferential policies that indict the economy as a whole, suggesting pessimism about both education and job creation.
THE HARYANA LAW:
- The Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Act of 2020 seeks to ensure that 75% of all jobs with gross monthly salaries of up to ?50,000 are provided to the State’s own residents.
The law is applicable to all the companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, partnership firms and any person employing 10 or more persons and an entity, as may be notified by the government from time to time shall come under the ambit of this Act.
The sons of the soil: EXAMPLES
- Andhra Pradesh has mandated 75 per cent reservation for locals;
Karnataka is toying with the idea of reserving all blue collar jobs for locals;
Madhya Pradesh has announced that public employment in the state be reserved for state residents.
Andhra Pradesh (AP) had passed a similar law in 2019, and the Madhya Pradesh CM has promised one to reserve 70% private sector jobs.
The Government rational behind such laws:
- Providing reservation in public employment is one of the many ways through which the state endeavours to ensure equal opportunity for all citizens. With public sector jobs constituting only a minuscule proportion of all jobs, legislators wish to rope in private sector to really achieve the same constitutional mandate.
2. Private industries use public infrastructure in many ways — from accessing land through subsidised allotment to receiving credit from public banks, tax exemptions and in many cases subsidies for fuel etc.
3. So, the state has a legitimate right to require them to comply with the reservation policy. A similar argument was made in requiring private schools to comply with the Right to Education Act, which the Supreme Court also upheld.
The Constitutional /legal challenges:
1. The Haryana Bill is constitutionally indefensible as the Constitution prohibits discrimination based on place of birth. The right to move freely in the country and reside and settle in any part of it, the right to carry out any trade or profession, is all established rights.
- The bill violates both Article 14 that speak of equality of all citizens and Article 19 that grants every citizen the right to reside and work in any part of the country.
3. The Constitution, especially Article 19(1)(g) and Article 16(2). Operationally, the law imposes onerous and contentious responsibilities on key personnel of firms in the State, including those with as few as 10 employees.
The critical action points for businesses:
- The Private Businesses attached to severe monetary penalties for perceived non-compliance.
They need to register every employee earning ?50,000 on an official portal and employing 75% of locals in such jobs presumably by removing existing non-Haryanvi employees beyond the 25% limit.
Most preposterous is seeking exemptions to the law firms can hire outsiders by proving that local candidates for a desired skill are not available.
Apart from the power to enter firms’ premises for inspections, officials will decide if a firm can hire an outsider or should train local candidates instead, till they become proficient enough.
Even if this harks back to an ‘Inspector Raj’ system, the process would dissuade employers from operating in the State, thus defeating the idea of boosting local jobs when unemployment is running high.
The private sector is against the bill:
1. First, the private sector cannot be subject to the same yardstick as the public sector; imposing reservation would not just interfere with freedom of trade and business, it might also be a form of expropriation.
2. Second, given the variety of parties now espousing domicile-based reservation, the argument that the “private sector” can be protected will be an argument in bad faith.
- Arguably, the case for reservation for social justice is stronger than the case based on domicile.
4. Fourth, these bills will open up a new form of competitive ethnic politics. It is odd that a state like Haryana which has benefitted from being part of a cosmopolitan zone like NCR should unilaterally impose reservations.
5. Fifth, there is patent class discrimination: If you are rich, privileged or highly skilled, there are no entry barriers in accessing any labour market. But we shall put entry barriers on lower skilled migrants; our own internal version of an H-1B visa.
- Sixth, the greatest damage the Bill does is to increase the discretionary power of the state, almost taking us back to a license permit raj, where companies will have to bargain, or worse, bribe the state for exemptions. This is the antithesis of regulatory reform.
1. If every state does this then what happens to our constitution under Article 19, which gives us the right to travel and reside in any part of the country. It is a constitutional right but how will you exercise it if you can’t get a job or education anywhere else other than the state you were born in.
- The Bill would have an adverse impact on the functioning of companies and the business in the state, he said, a golden rule was devised in Indira Sawhney vs Union of India on capping reservation at 50% and that should not be breached.
2) Pursuing the American dream with ‘WFA’.
U.S. immigration is unlikely to change soon, but those hoping to access opportunities could still have a new choice.
GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.
- On the first day of taking office, President Joe Biden presented immigration reform legislation to Congress and signed a slew of executive orders covering varied areas, including immigration.
However, with the ongoing pandemic and economic crisis, uncertainty remains. In the meantime, high-skilled workers facing immigration woes can take advantage of another emerging employment trend — companies offering their employees the ability to work-from-anywhere (WFA).
U.S. immigration reform:
- In January 2020, Mr. Biden had floated a proposal to overhaul the U.S. immigration system, expanding pathways for legal immigration for both family-based and employment-based migrants.
2. For high-skilled migrants, Mr. Biden’s proposal would remove country-specific quotas for employment-based visas, and would exempt anyone with a STEM PhD from a U.S. institution from all quotas to receive a green card.
- There is a long road ahead before the proposal becomes the law of the land, needing to pass through both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Given partisan divisions in the U.S. legislature, it is quite unlikely that the proposal in its current form will ever become law.
What is H-1B and H-4 Visa?
- The H-1B is a visa in the United States under the Immigration and Nationality Act, section 101 that allows U.S. employers to temporarily employ foreign workers in specialty occupations.
To qualify for the H-1B visa category, the prospective H-1B employee must hold a U.S. bachelor’s or higher degree, or the equivalent. The person must hold a U.S. equivalent 4 years’ bachelor’s or higher degree from an accredited college or university.
A H4 visa is issued to dependent family members (spouse and children) of H1 visa holders who would like to accompany the H1B visa holder to the U.S. during their stay. This article outlines the complete process on how to apply for H4 dependent visas.
4. In addition, current H-4 visa holders (i.e., spouses and children of H-1B visa holders) would become eligible for work permits. Currently, H-1Bs are issued for three years
- Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, companies were beginning to explore remote work options. The pandemic accelerated this trend across all industries for millions of workers.
Unlike a traditional work-from-home (WFH) model that allows workers to WFH a few days every week and from an office for the rest of the week, work-from-anywhere grants individuals the choice to live in their preferred locations.
This gives them the flexibility to live in a town, city, or country, far away from where the company or its customers have a physical office.
4. Workers can relocate to their hometown, be closer to family and friends, manage dual career situations and move somewhere where they can enjoy better weather or a better cultural and culinary fit.
5. Workers benefit by moving to or continuing to live in a lower cost-of-living location.
6. Organisations can benefit from work-from-anywhere as well, and research conducted at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) found that worker productivity under a work-from-anywhere policy was 4.4% greater than when workers were in a traditional work-from-home environment
- As more of the workforce shifts to remote work, organisations can also reduce and reimagine the utility of the physical office, reducing real estate costs.
8. Society, too, can benefit, as daily work commutes are a major source of carbon emissions; the USPTO estimated that shifting to remote work cut emissions by their employees by more than 44,000 tons.
A case study: TCS modal
1. It is most popular among start-ups, where WFA allows new companies to access a global pool of talent with relatively low investment in office space.
- Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) made headlines during the pandemic when it announced that its 400,000-plus employees will be 75% remote by 2025.
TCS has rolled out a ‘25-25 remote-work model’: 25% of the workforce will be in a physical office at any one time, and workers will only be expected to work from an office for 25% of their working hours.
The changes being implemented by TCS. In this 25-25 model, TCS workers are mostly ‘location independent’. This enables TCS clients to access the best talent within TCS, independent of the location of talent.
The model also offers TCS employees an opportunity to simultaneously work on multiple projects around the globe, without relocating to the client site or worrying about immigration.
6. The TCS example shows how work-from-anywhere can help Indian companies and workers mitigate the challenges of immigration.
- With U.S. immigration unlikely to change in the immediate future, those hoping to access U.S.-based opportunities do have an alternative: embrace work-from-anywhere.
2. The USA immigration policies may change for the better, high-skilled workers should view work-from-anywhere as a viable alternative to physical relocation, allowing them to work globally without queuing up for an H1-B visa.
3. The Covid-19 crisis has opened senior leaders’ minds to the idea of adopting WFA for all or part of their workforces and beast example is TCS modal.