It has to be done and done fast: Govt | india | Hindustan Times
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It has to be done and done fast: Govt

Social Justice Minister Meira Kumar says time's running out for India Inc.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2006 14:08 IST

Despite the raging controversy over OBC reservations, the Government has not given up on the idea of reservation in private sector telling the industry that "time is running out" for it to act voluntarily.

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar says she plans to go to the Cabinet with the report of the Group of Ministers on the issue "at the earliest" as the reservation "has to be done and done fast".

In an interview, she, however, declined to hazard any guess on whether the Government would act in the matter before the monsoon session of Parliament commencing next month or before the next round of assembly polls including in Uttar Pradesh scheduled early next year.

"There is a lot of pressure on me. I am working under great pressure but I want it to be done, done amicably and without any type of confrontation. Time is running out," Kumar said dismissing suggestions that the issue has been kept on the backburner in the wake of the OBC quota row.

Asked if she is referring to bringing legislation in this regard, Kumar said, "I am not talking about legislation. I am telling the industrial and business houses how to do it....

"If they will not do it, then the matter is before the Cabinet and it will decide," she said admitting at the same time that the "reluctance on the part of the industry is petering down and its position has "softened".

Rejecting suggestions that the matter has taken a backseat in the wake of OBC quota row as also due to lack of consensus with industry on the issue, the Minister said, "our next step is that there has to be a collective decision on it".

Kumar sought to emphasise that there has been unanimity among all political parties on the issue of reservation in private sector. Discussions in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya had witnessed all round support on the matter.

Telling the industry and business that she does not have much time, Kumar reminded them that there was affirmative action in 20 odd countries including US, France, Germany and China and what the Government was suggesting was not a new thing.

The Minister said that for 57 years, the Government did not ask for any such thing from them but the situation has undergone a change with economic liberalisation and privatisation, which has witnessed fast growth and more job opportunities in private sector.

This, she said, should also be seen in the backdrop of downsizing of Government and PSUs, which earlier used to provide job opportunities to the weaker sections.

The Social Justice Minister, however, rejected demands for applying the "creamy layer" concept in reservation for SC saying, "unless you provide the benefit to a few generations, they would not be able to get maximum benefit of the reservation. It will be a punishment if creamy payer is applied in the community".

She also dismissed suggestions that merit was lacking in the community and reservation will kill the competitiveness of industry and business. "Looking down and doubting the ability of these sections is not good", she said.