New Delhi, Oct. 24 (PTI): A National Human Rights Commission report has expressed doubts over the 'constitutional sustainability' of the proposal for job reservation in the private sector for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
The report on prevention of atrocities against SC/STs commissioned two years ago by the NHRC, released last week, states that the private sector too is unlikely to accept the job reservation proposal for several reasons.
'The constitutional sustainability of such a proposal is in doubt. That is why even in the peak period of commitment to reservation as a strategy of empowerment of SCs and STs, the government did not consider introducing reservation of jobs in the private sector,' said the study.
According to the report, with the intervention of the Supreme Court in restricting the scope and ambit of reservation from time to time, it 'seems highly improbable' that the idea of reservation of jobs in the private sector would muster legal sanction.
The report, written by retired bureaucrat K.B. Saxena said: 'There is no accountability of private sector enterprises to government or to public. They are accountable to their own shareholders.'
It argued that since the responsibility for profit and loss is borne by the enterprise, autonomy of operation is important. 'Therefore, those who invest their capital would not countenance such restrictions on their autonomy,' it said.
The report suggested that the government could engage the private sector in discussion on how to facilitate entry of SCs and STs in the private sector.
'This may not assure jobs in the manner of reservations but would bring the vast private sector employment in the ambit of social obligation,' it said, adding that appropriate mechanisms can be created to monitor the progress of these efforts.
The report is dismissive of the scale of possible absorption of SCs/STs in private sector jobs through reservation, saying even if 15 per cent reservation were to be enforced, this would take care of only around 13 lakh persons from the SCs and 6.5 lakh from among the STs.
On the larger question of reservation as a tool of upliftment of the communities, it said it does not offer hope for a vast majority of persons belonging to the SCs and STs seeking employment.
'While the benefits from reservation are shrinking, SCs are not equipped to tap employment opportunities in the open market. This is likely to increase their frustration.'
'It is important, therefore, that a comprehensive strategy for widening the employment opportunities for SCs/STs is worked out,' the report said.