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India Inc in no mood to relent

"Give us 2 years for affirmative action," says CII Vice-President Sunil Mittal.

india Updated: May 09, 2006 12:00 IST

The Indian industry stands staunchly opposed to job reservations in the private sector, Bharti Group Promoter and CII Vice-President Sunil Mittal has said as he vowed to fight the move at every front.

"I would say anything that's going to hurt the industry's competitiveness will have to be fought. At what quorum, which place, courts or outside courts, or politically needs to be dealt with," Mittal, whose company offers telecom services under the Airtel brand, said in an interview.

But he did underline the role of corporates can play in social uplift of weaker sections of society.

"I am a strong believer that if India has to get the complete benefit of its large population and big market, if you will not carry the weaker sections of society, if you will not incorporate the eastern part of India into the mainstream, I think India will never achieve its glory," he said.

Mittal sought a time period of two years from the Government to bring any law to introduce reservation in the private sector saying "...Give us two years for affirmative action by industry on a voluntary basis. If it fails then let the Government start using the (South African style) measures."

Asked whether he was saying this on behalf of the majority of industry in India, Mittal said "I would say that in the last ten or twenty days of this debate, within CII at least, everybody and anybody who has been on the table for discussion supports this view."

Speaking about claims made by companies that they were employing up to 50 per cent from the weaker sections, Mittal said industry has been doing enough in terms of people its employing and perhaps the industry was becoming a victim of false impression.

"I think what's coming out very clearly is that industry is doing enough in terms of people its employing... There is no active discrimination. People are not actively discriminating in the market place," he said.

"If industry was to take a roll call I think everybody would be surprised. The question is should we take that roll call. We believe it should not be taken. What I can confirm is, the accusation by some segments that industry actively dsicriminated does not hold at all," Mittal said.

Give industry a chance to prove itself, he said adding "it was unlikely the government would bring legislation to enforce reservations. I think the government falls short of going through with legislation... I believe the government has the good of the nation at heart and there's not much good that's going to come out of reservation."

First Published: May 06, 2006 11:51 IST