Ahead of 2019, PMO meets to track progress of SC/ST hirings in private sector
The meeting comes after several groups, including Dalits, Jats, Marathas and upper-castes, held protests in multiple states over issues ranging from quotas in jobs and promotions to alleged dilution of the SCs/STs Act.
Months ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has held its first meeting to discuss affirmative action in the private sector, according to a report by The Indian Express.
The report suggests that questions were raised during the meeting on September 22 over the private sector’s commitment to provide jobs to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs).
“The robustness in industry’s efforts is missing,” the newspaper quoted an official as saying.
The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) made a presentation on the progress made by the industry in skill development, provision of scholarships and employment for SCs and STs.
A high-level coordination committee was constituted under the chairmanship of the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister to discuss the issue in October 2006, by the Manmohan Singh government.
However, the committee, previously called Coordination Committee on Affirmative Action for SCs/STs in the Private Sector, had held only seven meetings until now. Questions had been raised within the government over the delay, the report suggests. The committee includes heads of industry chambers.
Industry chambers Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) and Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) provide data on scholarships, training and jobs provided, to SCs and STs, every quarter to the DIPP.
“They (the government officials) said the private sector can adopt villages and work towards extending skill training and then provide jobs to the SC/STs in these villages,” an official who attended the meeting told the newspaper.
“It was suggested that private sector companies can contribute by providing scholarships to tribal students,” the official added.
The meeting also comes at a time when several groups, including Dalits, Jats, Marathas and upper-castes, have held protests in multiple states over issues ranging from quotas in jobs and promotions to alleged dilution of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
On September 6, 35 organisations representing upper-caste interests staged protests in Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and ally Janata Dal (United)-ruled Bihar.
The protest were against amendments to the SC/ST Act that overruled the Supreme Court’s order diluting it.
Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan are expected to head for assembly polls later this year along with Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and possibly Telangana. The general election is scheduled to happen in April-May 2019.
In 2016, recommendations of a central panel for providing Other Backward Classes (OBCs) 27 percent reservation in private sector jobs had evoked favourable reactions from some political parties. However, the ruling BJP had noted that it could be done after creating a conducive atmosphere.
Source: Money Control.com, Sept 25, 2018