Raja Sekhar Vundru

Raja Sekhar Vundru's Writings

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Location: New Delhi, India

Ph.D on Dr.Ambedkar's Electoral System from the National Law School, Bangalore (NLSUI) Currently working as Deputy Director General, UIDAI, Government of India , New Delhi +911123752322 (office)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Equal opportunity must be ensured

Equal opportunity must be ensured

Raja Sekhar Vundru



The origin of reservation of government jobs in India can be traced to the anti-Brahmin movement of 1873-1949 in southern and western India.

The apathy to the domination of Tamil Brahmins in government jobs (90%) in the erstwhile Mysore state prompted the then Maharaja in 1918 to allow Brahmins to compete for only three out of every 10 government jobs. The 3rd Communal G.O. of Madras in 1928 restricted them to two out of every 12 posts. This was reverse discrimination at its best. Thus, job reservation was a consequence of the quest by non-Brahmins for fair representation and equal opportunity. The Constituent Assembly incorporated the equal opportunity clause in 1949.

In 1964, the Civil Rights Act of the United States made it unlawful for an employer to discriminate in employment over race, sex, colour, religion and national origin. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was founded to enforce these statutes in the private sector. Mr Aiyar (ET, July 23) felt that providing equal opportunity in private sector jobs “would abrogate the right to carry on business”. But, this right under Article 19 (g) is not absolute. As for the good old ‘merit’ argument, the American corporate sector despite policies to include blacks and Hispanics is light years ahead of the Indian private sector.

The demand for private sector job quotas is nothing new in a polity that has been exploring ways and methods to ensure equal opportunity in the private sector. The impact of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation on employment have only hastened the demand. The private sector must be answerable to the country about how it would practice non-discrimination and ensure equal opportunity to all.

Under the Indian Constitution, the state practices mandatory equal opportunity, but not the private sector. But in the US both ensure equal opportunity. If equal opportunity in the private sector is to be ensured, given the sector’s track record in tax compliance, this can only be achieved through law.
(Views are personal and not those of the government)

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