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Govt may enact law for quota: Nath

The Union Commerce Minister said the Govt might bring a law to ensure reservation in private sector jobs if the industry failed to come out with adequate voluntary response on affirmative action for all inclusive growth.

education Updated: May 13, 2006 12:39 IST

The Government has said it may bring a law to ensure reservation in private sector jobs if the industry failed to come out with "adequate" voluntary response on affirmative action for "all inclusive" growth.

Simultaneously, the Government is also working on a package to provide incentives, including tax concessions, for encouraging private companies to set up industries and create employment in districts where a large number of population is Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes.

"We will first see what is their voluntary action...But if it fails, the Government will have to look at other options ...Including making it legally," Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said in an interview to a news channel.

Nath said the Government action would depend on the response from the industry and if the Government felt that the steps being taken by private firms were not "adequate on the ground", various options would be considered.

Asked whether the options include reservation, he said: "there are various options... Which does not preclude reservation... But that (reservation) is not the only option."

Nath said India's growth has so far been "urban-centric" and it was important to develop areas, which were not a part of this growth story. There are about 104 districts in the country, where SCs, STs and OBCs comprised more than 50 per cent of the population, he said, adding these were the areas where the government wanted the industry to set up operations.

But, "if there is no other alternative to all inclusive growth, reservations will have to happen," he said.

Nath said the affirmative action - which was a part of the UPA government's common minimum programme - was for growth of all sections of society, including SCs, STs and OBCs. 

Asked to react on the comments by various companies and even industry chamber CII that industry was doing its bit for the upliftment of weaker sections, he said: "let them substantiate their claims on facts and figures."

On the comments by CII Vice President and Bharti Group Chief Sunil Mittal that industry should be given two years for voluntary action, he said it would depend on their proposal.

"If the industry comes with a formal format with proposals, only then we will consider it," he said.

Nath also said the Government was working on a new package for giving incentives to the industries to establish operations in backward regions.

About half of the 104 districts - where the population of SCs, STs and OBCs is more than 50 per cent - was covered under various incentive schemes, as these were located in northeast region and Jammu and Kashmir.

"So, there are 50-60 districts left... If we can give some incentives for creating employment and attracting investments we would consider," he said.

Asked what kind of incentives could be offered, Nath said the Government was still looking at some possible alternatives but it would include fiscal concessions.

However, Nath said he is yet to discuss the proposal with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but expressed confidence of getting the support of the Union Cabinet.