Indian industry told to walk quota talk

Govt wants firms to submit the number of SC/ST people they recruited this year, reports G Choudhury.
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Updated on Mar 07, 2007 03:29 AM IST
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None | ByGaurav Choudhury, New Delhi

The government wants private companies to submit the number of people from the scheduled castes (SCs) and scheduled tribes (STs) they recruited this year. But the companies say such a headcount could divide the factory floor along caste lines.

In a letter to three prominent industry associations on February 23, Ajay Dua, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, said the data was required to monitor the implementation of the voluntary affirmative action plan — proposed in July last year by the private sector itself. The plan had put forth a range of steps the private sector could take for the uplift of the backward communities.

Dua asked the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), whether their member companies could incorporate data on the number of SCs and STs employed by them in their annual reports for 2006-07. Annual reports are usually released in April.

The chambers have also been asked to promote affirmative action. “The member companies need to be told by the chambers in more specific terms about the ways and means of promoting affirmative action,” the letter said, adding that affirmative action in the private sector was one of the thrust areas of the government for 2007.

The response of the chambers differed on whether SC and ST employees’ data should be prepared. “The feedback we have received from our thousands of members is that such an exercise could lead to divisions and tensions on the factory floor along caste lines,” said Amit Mitra, secretary-general, Ficci.

But Assocham and CII, which had chalked out the joint affirmative action plan, have suggested to their members to include the employment data of SCs and STs in their annual reports.

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