Democratic Deficit : Caste dominates Indian Private sector
The first-ever caste census of India Inc’s human resources has revealed that the proportion of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe employees in the private sector in some of the most industrialised states of the country hardly reflects their strength in the general population of those states. The only exception is Tamil Nadu, which ranks number one in industrialisation and employment (by number of factories and persons, according to the Annual Survey of Industries 2008-09). SCs/STs account for almost 18 per cent of the industrial workforce and 20 per cent of the state’s population. In sharp contrast are some of the other most industrialised states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal, which show a sharp mismatch between SCs/STs as a percentage of the total workforce in the private sector and as a percentage of the states’ total population.
Living under the constant threat that the government may reserve jobs in the private sector as part of its inclusive growth agenda, the Confederation of Indian Industry, the country’s largest industry chamber, undertook a caste census of its members spread across 22 states and Union territories. Covering 8,250 members of the CII, together employing 35 lakh people, it gives a flavour of the manpower mix in India Inc. SCs/STs, for instance, make up 19.1 per cent of Maharashtra’s population but their share in the private sector human resources is only 5 per cent. In Gujarat and Karnataka, SCs/STs are just about 9 per cent of the staff strength, but account for 22 per cent and 23 per cent respectively of the state population. The survey, in a nutshell, reveals that companies in the least industrialised eastern region, where jobs are far and few, have the highest percentage of SC/ST employees. So, in Bihar — which ranks a distant 17 as per the Annual Survey of Industries 2008-09 — they together constitute a fourth of the total workforce, whereas they form just 16.6 per cent of the state’s total population. Chhattisgarh is a shade better, with more number of factories, but here too, half of the total workforce comprises SCs/STs, compared to them making up 43.4 per cent of the population.
The private sector in the western region comes as a surprise. Maharashtra, the hub of India Inc, is second only to Tamil Nadu in terms of industrialisation and employment. CII members in the state employ 20.72 lakh people in the state, almost 57 per cent of the total employee base considered in the survey by the chamber. But SC/ST proportion in the workforce is one-fourth of their percentage in the total population. In Madhya Pradesh that ranks 11 in industrialisation and workforce, SCs/STs account for 11 per cent of the private sector’s total staff strength, less than a third of their strength in the state’s population. States in south are an exception. The private sector in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala has on its rolls a remarkably high percentage of SCs/STs. Tamil Nadu — where the politically driven Dravidian movement significantly empowered the backward castes — is distinct because it also ranks number one in terms of the number of employees and factories. SCs/STs here account for 18 per cent of the workforce in CII’s member companies, and 20 per cent of the state’s population.In Kerala, for entirely different reasons such as 100 per cent literacy, the percentage of SCs/STs in the private sector is higher than their share in the population.
In the north, Delhi and Haryana buck the general trend, where the gap between SCs/STs at work and their representation in the population is significantly higher. The CII survey of the private sector’s manpower mix in Chandigarh, Punjab and Rajasthan shows that SC/ST proportion there is 25-50 per cent lower than their strength in the total population.
Source: Indian Express
Filed under: Affirmative action, Caste dynamics, democratic activism, democratic deficit | 3 Comments