Wednesday, June 15, 2011


15 June 2011


From R Rajagopalan

NEW DELHI: The Prime Minister's Office (PMO)  claimed nearly 20 per cent employees in the industries now belong to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes(ST) and more than 1500 private companies have adopted a voluntary code of conduct for implementing affirmative action.

It is an answer to those questioning the UPA government for not meeting the promise given in 2004 for reservation in the private sector as affirmative action is nothing but reservation to SCs and STs but without the constitutional compulsion.

Instead of twisting arms of the private sector to employ these deprive sections of the society through amendment in the Constitution or a law enacted by Parliament, the government is persuading it to do so voluntarily and the PMO was happy that it has begun showing results.

The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) made the claim of its member companies employing nearly 20 per cent workers belonging to SC/ST communities at a review meeting chaired by the Prime Minister's Principal Secretary TKS Nair to review the "affirmative action" in the private sector.

The chambers of industry told the meeting that 1,12,702 persons have benefited so far from the affirmative action's 4Es -- Employability, Education, Entrepreneurship Development, and Employment.

The industry associations who attended the coordination committee meeting cited a series of steps they have taken to improve employment of the SC and ST employees in the industries on a voluntary basis.

The FICCI and ASSOCHAM, the two apex bodies of the Indian industry and commerce have appointed their own ombudsmen to monitor the progress, while the CII told the meeting that it is in the process of doing so.

FICCI reported that it has imparted skill training to 11,000 SC/ST candidates to enhance their employability and it has also forwarded the voluntary code of conduct to nearly 2,70,000 industrial entrepreneurs in the country.

Between themselves, FICCI, CII and ASSOCHAM have adopted 559 ITIs to train the SC/ST candidates for easy employment in the private sector. They are also supporting mid day meal and various education programmes, they told the meeting.

ASSOCHAM has created a foundation for inclusive growth for SCs and STs and mandated a task force to oversee initiatives taken for affirmative action.

The three apex bodies are also adopting districts to launch focused skill development programmes to promote livelihood to the disadvantaged in these districts. FICCI has adopted Sonbhadra in Uttar Pradesh while CII has adopted Nawashahr district in Punjab and Cooch Behar in West Bengal.


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