India Intelligence Report

   Minister Wants Quota in Private Sector

  • Minister says private sector should act now before Government Does

  • No Information on Route for Reservation

  • Major Industry bodies oppose the move

Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar struck an ominous note that businesses must create a reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the private sector voluntarily in the near future as "Time is running out.”

Refusing to answer questions that demanded a definition of “time” and specify a timetable, she plans to present to the Federal Cabinet a plan from a Group of Ministers that proposes reservations in private sector "at the earliest" and insisted that reservation "has to be done and done fast".

She rejected suggestions that this issue has to be handled after the reservation of the Other Backward Classes is addressed, saying that "There is a lot of pressure on me. I am working under lot of pressure but I want it to be done, done amicably and without any type of confrontation. Time is running out."

Kumar was evasive whether the Government would address this matter before the Monsoon Session of Parliament or before the next round of Assembly polls, including in the politically crucial Uttar Pradesh scheduled early next year. She remained vague when asked if she wants to bring legislation saying "If they will not do it, then the matter is before the Cabinet and it will decide".

The National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) and the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) have already rejected this idea and said that they will put up a legal fight to stop political opportunism. Kumar’s interview with the Press Trust of India seemed like hollow threats and cheap pressure tactics normally used by inexperienced salespeople.