While government pushes for affirmative action in private industry, players differ on the methodology to be followed
Even as P.L. Punia, Chairman, National Commission for Scheduled Castes said that reservations for marginalised communities in the private sphere should be mandated, industry members differed on the strategy for affirmative action.
While everybody acknowledged the problems faced by marginalised communities and the need to find solutions, they did not agree on the way it should be done.
“Social inclusion in pursuit of providing equal opportunities to each and every individual is an agenda of supreme importance and the government has sought the support of industries and corporate bodies to carry forward this agenda with more determination and great vigour as the co-operation from the industries would revolutionise the entire system,” said Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Mukul Wasnik at an ASSOCHAM event
Summing the discussions, Mr. J.K. Sinha, IPS (Retd) Founder, Chairman, Shoshit Seva Sangh, said, “We have been listening to eloquent expositions on the matter and contrary views have emerged on how to deal with reservations.” While some of the industrialists felt that quota was not an answer, others felt that educating and training members of the marginalised communities could help generate capability among them.
They also differed on whether or not to have a code of conduct for implementation of affirmative action. While some felt it would convey the intent of the management clearly, others worried about ‘inspector raj’ and said that enforcement does not mean compliance. While most agreed that having a code of conduct in place would be a first baby step much more needs to be done. “Enforcement or not we need to build a consensus with people,” said Dr. S.C. Srivastava, Secretary General, National Labour Law Association.
They all agreed that if for nothing else, it made good business sense to follow affirmative action. Quoting Adi Godrej, Vijay Rai, CEO, PowerCon Consulting said, “There is a 25 per cent of the population by addressing whom we can enhance the pool of people and recruit from them. If for nothing then for purely selfish business reasons we should do it.”