India’s private sector brooks no interference in its recruitment policies. It resists the idea of quotas being introduced. It says it is a fair and equal employer. It says it doesn’t discriminate on the basis of caste, religion or “family background”. And it says it doesn’t turn away adequately qualified candidates. But a study by the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies in collaboration with Princeton University has shown that the situation is exactly to the contrary.
The study—using 548 job advertisements among 4,808 applicants over 66 weeks, across five metros—found that a Dalit had a 60 per cent less chance of being called for an interview, and a Muslim30 per cent less, as against their higher caste peers. The wage earnings too were found to be five to 20 per cent lower, between SCs as compared to upper castes.
Questions: Are claims of “merit” being the only deciding factor in private sector recruitment bogus? Or are studies like these motivated, arriving at preconceived, politically correct conclusions? Are Indian companies practising a perverse form of discrimination? Or should they be free to choose candidates as they feel fit? Should employers use “family background” to screen candidates? And, above all, as the “State” ceases to be the primary source of employment, is the private sector unwittingly helping create a very unequal society through its exclusivist policies?
Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Quotas in private sector?