Earlier, I had worked in really large organizations and now I run a small organization and I know the pitfalls of mandatory policies to implement reservations in Indian industry. I know the implications and consequences of such policies and I would not like to go that path if given a choice. Mandatory provisions, if they are similar to what are practiced in Indian government, are going to affect the Indian industry in many ways. Imagine promotions being made on caste lines and imagine you can’t fire someone because he is from a lower caste, etc.
If given choice I wouldn’t want to go that path of mandatory reservations policies that are similar to the ones practiced in Indian government offices. Instead, I want our industry to wake up and embrace voluntary practices so that Indian government can be assured that we are wise and mature enough to implement policies that actually bridge the gap between different social groups in our industry. As a wish I do not want these policies to be enforced upon us.
However, I do not see any voluntary action on part of Indian industry. I don’t see a single action from them that suggest they are going to embrace this voluntarily. Indian industry is not even ready to disclose their numbers- on how many backward communities are on their payroll, how many women, how many Muslims, Christians, etc. The voluntary disclosure of such numbers is only the first step. What follows next is the realization- that we have gone wrong somewhere. So that we can then ask some hard questions to ourselves- Where did we go wrong? How can we include certain parameters and provisions to take care of correcting these under-representations without affecting our corporate functions? Should we come up with our own strategies to combat this problem? If indeed our rolls are filled with people from single class, shouldn’t we be ashamed of ourselves?
But then, if we were indeed that wise and mature, we wouldn’t have had caste-based-discrimination in the first place, right?
Should the government impose mandatory policies right away? Should the government first give the room and space for Indian industries to rectify their systems and then see if they have made enough progress before enforcing the mandatory policies? What is the right way to do it? Should we trust the Indian industry to take up this task on its own or let the Indian government mandate the task?
I would like to give an example here. Imagine
The same analogy can work for Indian industry. Indian government should allow Indian industry to voluntarily come up with different mechanisms to address the gaps in the representations of different classes of people. Meanwhile, the Indian industry should quickly take this opportunity and start implementing the policies to bridge gaps between various classes right away. In absence of such voluntary actions from Indian industry, the Indian government will have no choice but resort to the mandatory provisions.
I wish that companies like Wipro, Infosys, Tata, Reliance, etc, which are big names of the Indian industry should readily embrace voluntary methods. By doing that, they will set an industry standard which other companies like ours can embrace without having to resort to mandatory provisions. I am sad to see that many of these companies are running away from embracing this voluntarily. Such apathy will only take us down the mandatory path.