Andhra Pradesh

`Andhra’s 75% quota in jobs for locals is a progressive step’

By M Goutham Reddy, Minister for Industry and IT, Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh has passed a historic bill, promising 75 per cent of jobs to locals. What successive governments have followed all these years has only enriched the companies and not created a quality workforce. They did not do any value addition in terms of employment. 

Our chief minister’s vision is that if people from this land get a high-value job and the state plays a proactive role in developing their skillsets along with what the industry needs, this will be the third set of reforms that will be ushered in in this country.

Since 1991, we were keen on dismantling the license raj and then in the early part of this century, it was industrial reforms with incentives. But the employment that was created was confined to unskilled and semi-skilled workforce. One of the main complaints from people who gave up their land for the factories was that they expected their children to be employed and skilled so that they could move up in life. Unfortunately, none of the governments have been able to address this. 

This was an electoral promise our chief minister had made and he has stood by it. A lot of people would tell me that this is a regressive step. But if you look at it in totality, it is a progressive measure. 

We are not sending any industry away from here. We are clear in the law that if we do not find the employees, you can always come back to us and we are more than willing to relook at it and give you a waiver. It is not a rigid law, it is a flexible law. This is the requirement of the day.

The first preference, when it comes to locals, will be given to those who have lost their land for this factory unit. Second will be those who live in the vicinity. If the industry is not able to get the people with the required skillsets from either of the two zones, then all of Andhra Pradesh becomes one unit for it to choose from. So the onus is on me to create the necessary skillsets. Because if I need the factories to flourish in my state, then it is in my interest to create the workforce which the industry can absorb. So we are going to go hand-in-hand with the industry in creating a quality workforce where the state is taking responsibility along with the business houses.

We can proudly say that we are at the forefront of the third phase of industrial revolution with social responsibility. In the coming days and months, the people of the country are going to look at Andhra Pradesh as a role model.

The after effects of globalisation has meant across the world, people are reorienting their business plans. Britain, for instance, has exited the European Union purely for reasons of employment. Same is the case with the United States where the President of USA has said that jobs are more important to me than businesses. 

(As told to Filter Kaapi Live)

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