Thursday, May 12, 2011

[ZESTCaste] Industry moves to duck enforced job reservation

Industry moves to duck enforced job reservation
Lalatendu Mishra Mumbai May 12, 2011

Corporates have come forward to voluntarily provide jobs to members of
the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes (SC/STs) in a preemptive move
to deal with the demand for job reservation in the private sector.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the apex body of Indian
private companies, has chalked out a roadmap to provide job-oriented
training to 50,000 people from the SC/ST category this year and
arrange employment for them in different categories this year itself.

The CII has asked all member companies to take this up on a priority
basis. CII will provide training to the people at different centres in
India. The companies will directly recruit them and a CII team would
monitor this on a continuous basis.

This is a marked change as CII has been acting as a lobbyist for the
corporate sector for over 115 years. In the past five years, the focus
is changing to improving the quality of life of the community as a
whole. The voluntary job offer for the disadvantaged is in line with
this. "This year we have decided to intensify efforts on affirmative
action by our member companies, which includes providing 50,000 jobs
to members of the SC/STs. The other two focus areas are skill
development and corporate governance," said B. Muthuraman, president,

"Affirmative action is fundamentally important. Next year more people
from the SC/ST category will be employed. This is purely voluntary in
nature," he added. The industry body has also asked members to
increase the purchase of goods and services from SC/ST-owned
enterprises by 10 to 20 per cent and help them enhance
competitiveness. The Dalit Chamber of Commerce & Industry will
recommend member companies in this regard. CII has also decided to
double the number of scholarships to 1,000 for SC/ST students this

Dalit leaders have been pushing for a job quota in the private sector
on the lines of government jobs and even the prime minister has
mentioned this to the discomfort of the private sector.

Former commerce minister Kamal Nath had also asked corporates to take
voluntary action on this front, failing which the Centre would bring
out legislation to make job quotas possible. It is perhaps after this
that the industry has been taking steps to prevent any forced measure.

Meanwhile, for the benefit of the other sections of society, industry
plans to set up 30 skill centres at district levels to train youth for
jobs. Training in services-related jobs, apart from manufacturing,
would also be provided.

This is to further strengthen CII's maiden Skill Development Hub in
Chhindwara, MP. Four more such hubs would be set up in four regions of
the country. It is estimated that 10 million people would join the
workforce every year and it is the responsibility of the industry to
enhance their productivity and improve their skills.

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