Indian industry had assured Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh that it would draw up a robust Affirmative Action plan and, five years later, it is Indian industry's contention that an encouraging beginning has been made. Awareness has been created in Industry of the importance of Affirmative Action to further social stability and cohesion, so necessary for business. A beginning has been made in many companies to embed Affirmative Action for the SC/ST communities in their HR and business processes.
It would be counter-productive, in this context, for political expediency to revive the demand for job reservations in the private sector. For one, such a measure will not amount to many jobs on the ground. While Indian industry commits itself to employing many more SC/ST youth, it believes the most urgent need is to ensure that the pool of employable SC/ST youth continues to keep growing. This realization explains the CII's emphasis on initiatives under the Employability agenda. Indian industry is clear that any compromise on merit will restrict its competitiveness in this era of increasing globalization and any attempt to circumscribe its right to hire on merit would be resisted with all the resources at its command. Indian industry shares the nation's resolve to address the deprivation suffered by the SC/ST communities and commits to stepping up its Affirmative Action agenda in the years to come to ensure that India becomes a land of equal opportunity.
The second edition of Endeavour is a newsletter of best practices and initiatives taken by CII members from the eastern region on Affirmative Action.