The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, has warned workers from other districts to leave employment at industrial units within the district, or be “forced to leave” within a month.
The Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, has warned workers from other districts to leave employment at industrial units within the district, or be “forced to leave” within a month. The Union’s ‘hyperlocal’ focus—generally, ‘domicile preference’ demands have been made at the state-level—was communicated to the district administration via a memorandum. BKU claims that ‘domicile’ graduates face crushing joblessness as the sugar and paper mills in the district have been recruiting workers and qualified professionals from other districts and states. It has demanded that the district administration make it mandatory for employers in the district to prioritise the hiring of local youth over talent sourced from elsewhere. In a bizarre attempt to explain the poor employability quotient of Muzaffarnagar’s youths, the BKU has stated that the pollutants released by the industries has compromised the earning capacity and potential of the local youth. (Note, pollutants from the factories and mills impact entire populations, and do not discriminate on the basis of age and education). The district administration will, of course, do well to let the BKU and its constituents know that their demands can’t be met, without compromising Article 19(1)(d), that gives us a fundamental right to “move freely throughout the territory of India”, for various purposes, including livelihood—with the security of person and property assured.
In this tragicomic matter, from a perspective of policy, it will perhaps be better to dwell on the tragic. If, indeed, industries are finding local youths unemployable and looking outside for staff, perhaps there are skilling gaps that need to be met. The youth of Muzaffarnagar would have a better shot at finding employment, and not just locally, if the BKU were to demand that the government provide for bringing their skills on a par with the job requirements at these industries. Of course, the skills upgrade/strengthening should be commensurate with the academic level the person has crossed. The demand could be also for better educational infrastructure, from the primary to the tertiary level and quality-checks of existing institutions. A goonish ‘domicile preference’ demand will ultimately not pay off—industries may just eventually shut shop with such arm-twisting.