Second Edition Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment
Edited by Alain Klarsfeld, Lize A.E. Booysen, Eddy Ng, Ian Roper and Ahu Tatli
Chapter 6: Equality and diversity in India: public versus private sector approaches to managing diversity in Indian organizations
The public sector in India has a constitutionally mandated reservation policy since 1950, for affirmative action protecting the three designated groups, Scheduled Castes (SC), Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Other Backward Classes (OBC). In fact, public sector 'reservation' for these groups was put in place by the British government in India even before independence. The private sector in India, however, has historically claimed to be 'caste-blind' and 'merit based' in its human resource management (HRM) processes, denying the need to track caste information on its employees and to implement any voluntary affirmative action reservation policies for these groups. But increased lobbying efforts and governmental pressures have led to some awareness-building and voluntary action in the private sector in efforts to thwart the threat of the legislated imposition of reservation quotas. Western multinational corporations (MNCs) in India, meanwhile, are implementing their corporate equal employment opportunity policies within their Indian operations, primarily targeting women and, more recently, including sexual orientation and persons with disabilities. This chapter is a follow-up to the earlier chapter, 'Affirmative action in India: caste-based reservations' (Haq and Ojha, 2010) in the International Handbook on Diversity Management at Work: Country Perspectives on Diversity and Equal Treatment edited by Alain Klarsfeld.
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