A very special batch of 89 students will graduate from the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore, on Friday. It is the first example of government-private collaboration for the uplift of the backward sections in the country.
IT major Infosys designed the special course for the students — all of them from the scheduled castes. The company also trained them at the government-owned institute. Seventy-six students of the batch have already got jobs, many of them with Infosys.
Social Welfare Minister Meira Kumar told HT: "India’s first pilot project on affirmative action with private sector has been a success. It is time others followed. If industry decides, it can happen."
An Infosys spokesperson confirmed that the programme had been completed successfully, but declined to comment on it.
Affirmative action by the private sector has been a priority of the government for over a year now with the prime minister stressing its importance almost every time he spoke at gatherings of industry heads.
According to Kumar, the partnership with Infosys started about eight months ago after the company's mentor NR Narayana Murthy met her. "He agreed to affirmative action on a pilot basis," Kumar said.
The Social Welfare and Empowerment Ministry submitted a list of about 100 scheduled caste students to Infosys - all first class engineering graduates or post graduates. The 89 selected students then underwent the Infosys designed three-month training course at IIIT, Bangalore.
Kumar said no other company had come forward with any similar proposal.