House panel’s quota advice may be a template in outsourcing age
NEW DELHI: In what could lay the template for protecting reservations in the era of outsourcing of jobs in government, a parliamentary committee has said that a “principal employer” should legally bind the contractors into implementing SC/ST quota in the labour force they engage.
The recommendation made by the Parliament’s “committee on the welfare of SCs and STs” pertains to public sector BSNL and Prasar Bharati. But it marks a rare attempt to firewall quotas from the growing trend of outsourcing. Since a private contractor engaged by the government executes work and employs the work force, he is under no obligation to provide reservation.
Activists have long expressed concern that the trend was eating into employment opportunities for Dalits and tribals.
Since quotas are only applicable in government jobs, “outsourcing” is limiting the field for the two groups.
Virtually acknowledging the problem, the panel headed by BJP MP Kirit Solanki has found a novel way of extending quotas to outsourced jobs — a tricky issue given that contractor is a private employer. BSNL told the panel that being the “principal employer”, it ensures that contractors observe labour laws in respect of contract labourers. “The committee recommends that when BSNL being a principal employer enter into contract, there should be a contract clause for implementation of SC/ST reservation policy to be followed by the contractor while engaging the workers,” the panel said.