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.
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.
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.
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
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.
is crucial to opening up opportunities for SC/ST candidates,
presently lacking due to inadequate avenues for quality