Mohandas Pai slams govt over proposal for dashboard on number of Kannadigas in Karnataka firms


PTI, Feb 22, 2024, 7:54 PM IST

Former Chief Finance Officer of Infosys T V Mohandas Pai has come down heavily on the Karnataka government’s plans to direct companies operating in the state to put up a dashboard displaying the number of Kannadigas working there.

Pai said multinational companies have begun to fear that they would be subjected to extortion over this issue.

During a discussion on the Kannada Language Comprehensive Development (Amendment) Bill in the Legislative Council on Tuesday, state Kannada and Culture Minister Shivaraj Tangadagi said Karnataka industries should have to display the number of Kannadiga employees in their firm.

“Every industry should put on their dashboards the (number of) Kannadigas and non-Kannadigas working there. We will bring that in the rules,” Tangadagi had said.

Reacting to it, Pai, who is the chairperson of proprietary venture fund Aarin Capital, said industry will be upset with such restrictions on hiring.

He cited the example of the vandalism that took place in Bengaluru in the name of Kannada signboards in companies and commercial establishments.

“Two months ago, there were a group of people who were indulging in violence, breaking signboards and smearing (them with) black paint and abusing people. Police were watching. People were scared,” Pai recalled.

“If the government does something like this (framing rules), how to prevent the same elements from going office to office and asking show me this, show me that. And if the companies don’t show, then they will indulge in violence?” he asked, wondering aloud.

Pai said the government did not demonstrate the ability to protect the people.

“People are living in fear in Bengaluru. The MNCs say why should they come to Bengaluru and live in fear,” he pointed out.

After Tangadagi’s statement, an MNC asked its executives whether their firm is safe in Bengaluru, Pai claimed.

“People in the government do not understand that whatever happens in Bengaluru is blown out all over the world, especially when a minister talks like this,” he underlined.

According to him, there is no discrimination against Kannadigas in Karnataka, as everybody wants to hire local people.

“The local people should have skills. The government should spend money on skilling people and earmark Rs 1,000 crore on skill development,” Pai stressed, pointing out that this was the solution to getting more Kannadigas hired, and not by imposing arbitrary rules.

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