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Plan to plug ‘diversity deficit’ in jobs

The government, on a plan to drive inclusive growth, is mapping out details of minority Muslims employed in state-controlled banks, reports Mahua Venkatesh.

business Updated: Aug 26, 2009 21:27 IST
Mahua Venkatesh

The government, on a plan to drive inclusive growth, is mapping out details of minority Muslims employed in state-controlled banks.

Only 5 per cent of the staff in public sector banks are Muslims, while the community accounts for more than 13 per cent of the nation’s population.

The total employee strength is around 750,000 spread across 28 different state-run banks. The government is likely to take appropriate steps once the Equal Opportunity Commission collates sufficient data on the issue.

Apart from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, certain religious communities are also counted among minorities that need affirmative action.

Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid told Hindustan Times that the government would have to wait for the data before taking any step to increase the presence of minority communities in relevant areas.

“We can take proper measures only once we have authentic data. The Equal Opportunity Commission will collect data and after we have the data, the government would act on it,” Khurshid said.

Areas like employment and housing in the country are likely to be the focus areas for reduction of the “diversity deficit” in the first phase. In other words, the focus would be on increasing presence of those belonging to the minority communities. The Equal Opportunity Commission is likely to compile data of these two sectors in the first phase.

The government has also asked industry bodies to submit reports on affirmative action to increase the presence of minority communities in the work-place.

Each industry could have its unique formula for implementation of affirmative action. Khurshid said a “one-size-fits-all” model may not be appropriate and would not serve the desired purpose.

Several developed countries like the US have already implemented affirmative action in areas like education and employment to provide equal opportunities to underprivileged communities.