03 August, 2021

'It's Totally Voluntary There'

Anti-reservation stalwarts say that affirmative action doesn't hold quality hostage

'It's Totally Voluntary There'
Affirmative action (AA) in the US is universally considered a great success. No wonder then that supporters of reservation in India ask: why can't the country emulate America, arguably the ultimate paragon of meritocracy? Why can't the private sector, instead of mulishly opposing reservation, think of creative ways to satisfy the aspirations of groups at the bottom of the social hierarchy?

Rahul Bajaj, chairman, Bajaj Auto, feels people ought not to confuse reservation with AA. "When people here talk about AA carried out by companies like ibm in the US, they are unfortunately unaware that AA is not mandatory there. It's totally voluntary. AA doesn't mean job reservation." Applying the American AA model to India, he says, would mean that if one of, say, three people applying for a job is from a backward community, then he should be given preference—and not discriminated against.

Should someone decide to do a social audit of Bajaj Auto, it will score high....

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