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PMO Holds First Meeting on Affirmative Action in Private Sector

The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion made a presentation regarding how far the Indian industry had come in areas of skill development and providing jobs to SCs and STs.

New Delhi: A report in the Indian Express on Tuesday said that the Prime Minister’s Office has held “its first ever meeting to discuss affirmative action in the private sector”. A top official who attended the Saturday meeting reportedly said that questions were raised over the private sector’s commitment to provide employment to SCs and STs.

In 2006, UPA-I instituted a high-level coordination committee to discuss the subject of reservation in the private sector and the committee since held seven meetings until May 2014.  However, since the Narendra Modi government came to power four years ago, this is the first time a meeting on this issue with the private sector has been held. According to Indian Express, questions were raised about this delay as well.

Citing sources, the report said that the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) made a presentation regarding how far the Indian industry had advanced in areas of skill development and in providing jobs to SCs and STs. Known as the Coordination Committee on Affirmative Action for SCs/STs in the Private Sector, the panel members include heads and members of industry chambers such as CII, FICCI and ASSOCHAM. The members furnish data that the committee reviews.

As per the Indian Express report:

While progress in skill training and scholarships has been “reasonable,” a top official said, there are gaps in data collection. “Sincerity of data is lacking,” the official said. “The private sector is not so committed to the cause as one would like it to be.”

The meeting comes on the back of protests erupting across the country to demand reservation as well as oppose the dilution of the SC/ST Act. Most recently, the Maratha agitation in Maharashtra has grabbed headlines. The Gujjars in Rajasthan too are demanding 5% reservation for the community within the OBC quota. The Patidars are demanding reservation for their community in Gujarat in the education sector and government jobs. And in Haryana, the Jats have demanded reservations for the community. In addition to particular communities like these, Dalits and several upper caste groups too have been demanding reservations across various areas, including the employment sector.