New Delhi: The second meeting of the Coordination Committee to promote Affirmative Action in Indian Industry was held under the Chairmanship of Principal Secretary to PM. Besides Secretaries of the concerned Ministers of GOI, Presidents of CII and Assocham, past President, FICCI and other senior representatives of industry attended the meeting.
The Committee reviewed the progress made in promoting affirmative action by industry since its last meeting held in October, 2006 and the interaction of senior industry representatives with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in November, 2006.
Since then CII and Assocham have finalized a Code of Conduct on Affirmative Action that is being followed by its members and has been widely circulated. Ficci agreed to evolve a similar plan of action for its constitutes and agreed to have an Ombudsman with regional benches set up by each apex chamber to monitor compliance of the voluntary Code of Conduct by its members.
To enhance employability, all Chambers will intensify efforts in developing skills sets of SC/ST persons, who are already participating in public-private partnership launched by the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment. 300 ITIs have been adopted during the current year and there is move to develop them as centres of excellence.
Stipends are available under the existing government schemes to enable SC/ST candidates pursue courses in various ITIs, Chambers agreed to top up, the financial incentives as needed, to ensure that available seats for SC/ST candidates in ITIs do not remain vacant.
Another element of affirmative action agreed to by industry was with respect to developing entrepreneurial abilities amongst SC/ST persons. It was noted that all Chambers have taken significant steps during the last few months to promote entrepreneurship through professional agencies.
CII mentioned that 345 SC/ST persons selected, after an intensive selection process are currently undergoing training to become entrepreneurs at seven centres in different parts of the country with assistance of Entrepreneurial Development Institute, Ahmedabad and during the current financial year it expects to train 500 such persons.
Ficci has set up four such entrepreneurial development centres where it will annually train 600 SC/ST persons. Assocham indicated that 300 of nearly 1000 candidates trained by it, will have already set up their new ventures.
There was general agreement that there should be positive discrimination in employment in favour of SC/ST persons, i.e., other things being equal, the SC/ST candidates would be given preference in employment pushing up their absorption in the organized industry.
It was also agreed that Presidents of Chambers will deliberate on what further action needs to be initiated to make the programme of affirmative action more responsive. This would include evolving a measure for encouraging location of industries in areas dominated by SC/ST persons; creating institutional structures within their organizations to carry out activities for skill upgradation and promoting entrepreneurship; and for raising resources from industry to fund their affirmative action programme.
The action taken to implement the programme would be reviewed by the coordination committee after a period of two months.