labels: industry - general
Industry unveils plans for SC/ST appointmentnews
29 July 2006

Chennai: Opposing any legislative measure for job reservation in the private sector for scheduled castes (SC) and scheduled tribes (ST), two major domestic industry bodies, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), have pledged an action agenda that will initiate greater inclusiveness of SC's and scheduled tribes ST's in the employment opportunities provided by the private sector.

The main initiative by industry would include: following a code of conduct to encourage greater participation of SC/STs in employment; massive training for better employability as well as mentoring for entrepreneurs.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will set up a council to coordinate these efforts by its member companies and appoint an ombudsman to look into observance of the code.

This was announced by R Seshasayee, president CII, while presenting the CII-Assocham task force report to the National Council of CII. The report entitled, 'Proposed Concrete Steps by Indian Industry on Affirmative Action for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes-CII-Assocham Action Plan', emphasises that a cohesive and integrated society will foster inclusive development, growth and competitiveness.

It may be recalled that the prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, while addressing the CII annual session in April this year, had called for affirmative action by industry for creating an inclusive society. Accordingly, Seshasayee had announced the formation of a task force under the chairmanship of Dr J J Irani, director, Tata Sons and past president CII, to draft the industry's response. Assocham, subsequently joined the task force.

Seshasayee stressed that private sector companies have, historically, been caste neutral in their employment policies. In fact, at the aggregate level, the magnitude of the representation of the SC/ STs is probably greater than currently perceived. However, industry recognises that India's socially and economically underprivileged SC/ST have not been able to realise their full potential owing to centuries old social discrimination.

Seshasayee also pointed out that continued economic growth is critical to such uplift, and therefore private industry is against any legislation that would affect its freedom of choice in employment. "Competitiveness of Indian Industry must remain top priority." At the same time, competitiveness would be enhanced by participation of all sections of society in economic activity. This is particularly significant as India's demographic profile imparts it a unique opportunity for rapid growth.

The concrete steps outlined in the report commits that CII will coordinate and assist initiatives by its individual members for SC/ST segment of the population. It will set up an apex council for this modeled on its successful quality council. It will undertake training programs for managers for advocacy and sensitisation. The office of an ombudsman is proposed to be set up to encourage greater transparency in corporates for SC/ST-directed activities.

CII's training programme in its six centres of excellence, along with its regular training programmess for competitiveness, will sponsor participants from SC/ST categories. "Inclusive and sustainable growth in a competitive manner has been a cornerstone of CII's activities. Thus, it has in place a strong foundation for undertaking the special proposed concrete steps for SC/ST," Seshasayee said.

He also said that the industry would undertake to provide coaching facilities to cover 50,000 SC/ST students in 50 universities across the country, annually, by 2009. Better employability is crucial to opening up opportunities for SC/ST candidates, presently lacking due to inadequate avenues for quality education.


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Industry unveils plans for SC/ST appointment