Affirmative action in Indian companies to boost employment for religious minorities and underprivileged communities like backward castes, tribals and Dalits is set to follow different sets of rules for different industries.
A concrete plan to follow such quotas, to be voluntarily implemented by private companies but under government guidelines, may take some time to be ruled out.
“We cannot have a one-size-fits-all formula. It is a delicate issue and needs to be handled carefully to ensure that the purpose is served,” Corporate Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told Hindustan Times. Each industry needs to have its own formula on affirmative action, the minister added.
The Equal Opportunity Commission is already looking into the issue and has started a process to collect data on the basis of which the government would formulate its position, Khurshid said.
The US has already taken affirmative action to promote equal opportunities and increase ethnic diversity in education and employment.
Most Indian industries are said to be in “diversity deficit” —a term used in the US to denote under-representation of minorities and underprivileged communities.
The Rajinder Sachar Committee report which was tabled in Parliament in November 2006 suggested adoption of suitable mechanisms to with a view to ensuring equity and equality of opportunity to Muslims in residential, work and educational spaces. The report highlighted that the status of Indian Muslims were below the average conditions of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
In a bid to provide a boost to the minority communities, the government set a target for public sector banks to lend at least 15 per cent of their total priority sector advances to the minority communities.