Hire more from minorities, govt tells businesses

16 Jun 2009, 0147 hrs IST, Pankaj Doval, TNN

NEW DELHI: Making a pitch for increased "affirmative action" from the corporate sector in terms of providing jobs to minorities, the government

on Monday said it has sought details from industry over their representation in employment. Corporate affairs minister Salman Khurshid, who also holds the portfolio of minority affairs, told TOI that the share of minorities in the corporate sector should be enhanced, though this should be done without any legislation that mandates reservation.

"We are talking about affirmative action here… engaging (the industry) through dialogue," Khurshid said while making his assertion on increased representation for minorities. He said the higher participation of minorities within theprivate sector was desirable. "However, there is no need for a legislation or reservation for this," he emphasised.

The minister said the government was getting in touch with the corporate sector with this thought. "It is basically like how many people are you already employing from the minorities and how is it possible to have more," said Khurshid, who is reportedly in favour of offering fiscal sops to those who consider such affirmative action.

Importantly, the minister said he would take "support" of the Sachar Committee report as he goes about implementing his idea. The Rajinder Sachar Committee, appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the UPA government’s previous tenure, looked into the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community of India and recommended a number of measures to improve the living condition of the minorities.

Khurshid’s assertion that he was not for a legislation to mandate his point on the welfare of the minorities should come in as a major relief for the industry that also advocates voluntary action instead of alaw.

DS Rawat, Secretary-General of industry body Assocham, said the corporate sector was open to the suggestion and was taking steps by itself towards getting in more representation of the minorities. "We strongly believe that there is need for taking up affirmative action, but also say that this should be done voluntarily," Rawat said, though clarifying that this does not mean that the industry’s actions would be unaccountable. "The actions of the industry towards this end must be reflected," he said.

Rawat said Assocham was already preparing a report on the status of the minorities and the backward classes in the corporate sector. "We had filed a report last year and would be submitting a new one very soon," he said.


Found in the Times of India

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