Do we need affirmative action in private sector?


Samir Sachdeva | May 26, 2010

Social justice minister Mukul Wasnik has written to prime minister Manmohan Singh regarding preferential employment policies for SCs/STs in the private sector, reviving the debate on this issue.

Affirmative action is required for creation of equality of opportunity for those who have remained underprivileged for centuries. However the form of affirmative action as currently prevalent and planned to be extended to the private sector is focused on providing rights restricted to a few of the rather than equal opportunity to all.

Initially the framers of our constitution suggested reservations in jobs and education institutions for a period of 10 years which has been extended many times over. This means that it has not achieved the desired results in the stipulated time. In such circumstances rather than reviewing the existing policy, extending it to the private sector may not reap the desired benefits.

The policy of affirmative action based on caste or tribe is being brought to front by various stakeholders just for political gains rather than any agenda of inclusive development. In an era when the countries across world are taking affirmative actions based on physical disabilities, mental health constraints, gender sensitivity, sexual minorities and economic backwardness of individuals leaders in India are still focused on caste and tribes for their political gains.

The question is do relatives and children of leaders like Shibu Soren, Meira Kumar, Mayawati or Sushil Kumar Shinde still require reservation? And the issue is why the children of Kalavati (whom Rahul Gandhi mentioned a parliament speech) have still not got the benefits of affirmative action of the state?

So, the question is: do we need to extend the affirmative action in the private sector or not?



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