Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dalits and Private Sector

Hi All,Here are a few of my points1. Employment is one type of relationship between the dalit communityand the private sector. Dalits as investors, dalits as consumers,dalits as vendors, dalits as partners are other angles to therelationship. Reservations (or Affirmative actions) could be broaderin scope. The private sector needs to build (and/or strengthen) itslinkage with the last man in the queue. Surnames indicating dalitcastes are conspicously absent at most levels (and especially atsenior levels) in all these relationships.2. Reservation is a positive discrimination. Indian private sector iscurrently so retrograde, that even prevention of negativediscrimination would count as progress.3. Glass ceilings exist in private companies, ostensibly due to thedominance of lala companies, where the lala's caste-mates (or gav-wallas) get unfair advantages. In these cases, the lala's need to bemade aware of their interdependence viz the dalit community. Thereare many ways for this. Two wheeler selling lala's indicate theirlack of understanding of their annadata's when they espouse anti-dalit sentiments.4. In public companies, dalits (currently marginal groups) haveto "adjust" to the culture set by the non dalits (currently dominantgroups) in power. So they cannot voice the different perspectivesthat they bring to the table, thereby depriving these companies ofthe value that their differential experience can bring to thecompany. In ICICI, the presence of women at senior level hasinfluenced that company's thinking in many ways, many of which haveyielded significant value to it.5. In my opinion, the current situation is that the dalit community,an outsider to the private sector is lecturing and/or goading theprivate sector to modify/improve itself. A more comprehensiveapproach would includea. Clearly articulate what all we want the private sector to do, whywe want them to do it and who will get what if that is done and whatwill happen if that is not doneb. Collect and share data about whether and which companies are doingthe needful and which are not.c. Dalits need to move into private sector in big way, leveraging theeducational support provided by the state. We need to educate ourpeople about where their long term interests lie.d. Dalits already in private sector need to speak out and be heard.They need to work hard and reach decision making positions and thenmake the strategic decisions which will enable increasedparticipation of dalits in the private sector labor andproduct/service markets. This last item is most important. Dalits arecurrently outside the markets. They need to enter....RegardsPratap Tambay
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