FICCI Affirmative Action Initiatives
 

From Inclusion to Growth

Social discrimination causes huge socio-economic costs to any country. While it limits the fruits of development to a minority of mighty ones, it also threatens social peace and economic growth. India has already suffered such losses for centuries. Therefore, what it needs today is to build upon a robust model of economic growth, fostering inclusivity and promoting equality in opportunities for all.

To promote ‘equality’ as an unavoidable precondition to sustained economic growth and improved human development, the Prime Minister of India, in 2006, gave a fresh impetus to the government’s ongoing Affirmative Action initiatives by calling on industry to take Affirmative Action on education, training and employment opportunities for weaker sections of the community-SC/STs.

Having faith in the ideology of ‘Common-Good,’ FICCI soon came up with strategies to mainstream Affirmative Action with the agenda and programs of private sector. It strengthened awareness on the issue and underlined that country’s rapid march towards economic prosperity is not possible without inclusivity and competitiveness. It also adopted a number of measures, centred around 4Es- Education, Employability, Entrepreneurship and Employment to achieve inclusiveness. Given below is a gist of some of these interventions:

1. Voluntary Code of Conduct: FICCI developed a Voluntary Code of Conduct to promote Affirmative Action in private sector. Non-discrimination in employment opportunities on the basis of cast, provision for capacity building of the identified underprivileged communities and transparency in systems and processes are the core underlying values around which the code has been woven. It urges the industry to undertake tailor-made initiatives to promote education, skill development and entrepreneurship of the targeted community.

The code has been circulated among all industry members and, as of now, has been adopted by 451 member companies. (Code appended below)

2. Adoption of Sonebhadra district: FICCI, at the instance of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), and as part of its commitment to promote Affirmative Action, has adopted Sonebhadra District of Uttar Pradesh to promote skill development and create livelihood generation opportunities for the targeted (SC/ST) community. The district was chosen because of its being one of the poorest districts in the country, with more than 40 per cent SC & ST population. Appended below is a brief of major interventions undertaken by FICCI in Sonebhadra:

a) Employability Enhancement (Skill Development Training): FICCI, along with IL&FS Pvt Ltd, has setup a skill development centre in the district and has trained 2000 plus youth in various manufacturing and service sector trades like Welder, Fitter, BPO and Retail.

It has also urged its private ITI members in the district (members of the FICCI-NAVTP) to subsidize the admission fee of ST/SC students and arrange for extra classes for weaker students, if needed.

b) Creation of Self-employment Opportunities (Enterprise Development Training): FICCI has launched ILO’s flagship enterprise development training program ‘Start and Improve Your Business’ (SIYB) to promote enterprise development skills of youth and help them grow their enterprises as viable business entities. As of now around 350 youth have been trained in Sonebhadra. Many of them have set up their small enterprises, while others are in the process. One such trainee has received the Uttar Pradesh Government’s prestigious “Gokul” award for doing commendable work in the area of dairy development.

3. Improving the quality of vocational training: (Adoption of ITIs): FICCI has facilitated adoption of 109 government ITIs by Industry members to turn them into Center of Excellence. Some of these ITIs lie in tribal dominated areas and thus; serve a large number of ST/SC students.

Industry partners, through Institute Management Committee (IMC), have started new, much-comprehensive-and-industry-aligned courses in these ITIs and have resulted into improved employability of trainees. IMCs have also taken a number of measures to improve overall training quality, facilities/machinery available and infrastructure of these institutes. This intervention, while focusing on a bigger objective of employability enhancement through quality improvement, is also benefiting a large number of ST/SC youth in particular.

4. Stimulating private sector investment in Skill Development: FICCI is also urging its industry members to invest in the area of skill development. While a significant number of members are already having skill development initiatives, some have made fresh/additional investments in this area.

5. Other key interventions:

In response to the catastrophic flood in Uttarakhand, FICCI had setup a taskforce to support the Uttarakhand Government in rehabilitation efforts. The taskforce, being chaired by Ms. Sudha Pillai, Former Member Secretary, Planning Commission, initiated a number of rehabilitation interventions in the state including Skill Development (other interventions are in the area of Affordable Housing, Clean Water and Sanitation, Geo Spatial Technologies and Environment). The taskforce decided to train 5000 youth from the flood affected areas, on various manufacturing sector trades and enterprise development.
a) In order to achieve this target, FICCI started training of identified youth in construction sector trades at L&T’s Pilkhuwa centre. The first batch of 100 youth (22 ST/SC) successfully completed the training in the month of December, and has now been placed at L&T’s various construction sites for a three month paid, on-the-job training.

b) FICCI also directly trained 60 youth (23 ST/SC) from flood affected areas of Uttarakhand on Enterprise Development. Out of this, around 28 have received a bank loan and are in the phase of setting-up their enterprises, while others are being provided handholding support to come up with a viable business idea and prepare a bankable business plan.

c) FICCI has also facilitated interaction between the Uttarakhand Government and Vocational Training Providers from different corners of the country. The idea was to get these Vocational Training Providers’ existing training facilities registered in Uttarakhand to enable them to train Uttarakhand youth outside the state and catalyze skill development. This intervention, in a long run, is deemed to benefit a significant number of youth—SC/ST in particular.
Following the meeting, FICCI has, as of now, submitted 10 proposals of interested training providers, to train around 15,000 Uttarakhand youth in 26 trades, in a short span of one year.

Social discrimination causes huge socio-economic costs to any country. While it limits the fruits of development to a minority of mighty ones, it also threatens social peace and economic growth. India has already suffered such losses for centuries. Therefore, what it needs today is to build upon a robust model of economic growth, fostering inclusivity and promoting equality in opportunities for all.

To promote ‘equality’ as an unavoidable precondition to sustained economic growth and improved human development, the Prime Minister of India, in 2006, gave a fresh impetus to the government’s ongoing Affirmative Action initiatives by calling on industry to take Affirmative Action on education, training and employment opportunities for weaker sections of the community—SC/STs.

Having faith in the ideology of ‘Common-Good,’ FICCI soon came up with strategies to mainstream Affirmative Action with the agenda and programs of private sector. It strengthened awareness on the issue and underlined that country’s rapid march towards economic prosperity is not possible without inclusivity and competitiveness. It also adopted a number of measures, centred around 4Es- Education, Employability, Entrepreneurship and Employment to achieve inclusiveness. Given below is a gist of some of these interventions:

1. Voluntary Code of Conduct: FICCI developed a Voluntary Code of Conduct to promote Affirmative Action in private sector. Non-discrimination in employment opportunities on the basis of cast, provision for capacity building of the identified underprivileged communities and transparency in systems and processes are the core underlying values around which the code has been woven. It urges the industry to undertake tailor-made initiatives to promote education, skill development and entrepreneurship of the targeted community.

The code has been circulated among all industry members and, as of now, has been adopted by 451 member companies. (Code appended below)

2. Adoption of Sonebhadra district: FICCI, at the instance of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), and as part of its commitment to promote Affirmative Action, has adopted Sonebhadra District of Uttar Pradesh to promote skill development and create livelihood generation opportunities for the targeted (SC/ST) community. The district was chosen because of its being one of the poorest districts in the country, with more than 40 per cent SC & ST population. Appended below is a brief of major interventions undertaken by FICCI in Sonebhadra:

a) Employability Enhancement (Skill Development Training): FICCI, along with IL&FS Pvt Ltd, has setup a skill development centre in the district and has trained 2000 plus youth in various manufacturing and service sector trades like Welder, Fitter, BPO and Retail.

It has also urged its private ITI members in the district (members of the FICCI-NAVTP) to subsidize the admission fee of ST/SC students and arrange for extra classes for weaker students, if needed.

b) Creation of Self-employment Opportunities (Enterprise Development Training): FICCI has launched ILO’s flagship enterprise development training program ‘Start and Improve Your Business’ (SIYB) to promote enterprise development skills of youth and help them grow their enterprises as viable business entities. As of now around 350 youth have been trained in Sonebhadra. Many of them have set up their small enterprises, while others are in the process. One such trainee has received the Uttar Pradesh Government’s prestigious “Gokul” award for doing commendable work in the area of dairy development.

3. Improving the quality of vocational training: (Adoption of ITIs): FICCI has facilitated adoption of 109 government ITIs by Industry members to turn them into Center of Excellence. Some of these ITIs lie in tribal dominated areas and thus; serve a large number of ST/SC students.

Industry partners, through Institute Management Committee (IMC), have started new, much-comprehensive-and-industry-aligned courses in these ITIs and have resulted into improved employability of trainees. IMCs have also taken a number of measures to improve overall training quality, facilities/machinery available and infrastructure of these institutes. This intervention, while focusing on a bigger objective of employability enhancement through quality improvement, is also benefiting a large number of ST/SC youth in particular.

4. Stimulating private sector investment in Skill Development: FICCI is also urging its industry members to invest in the area of skill development. While a significant number of members are already having skill development initiatives, some have made fresh/additional investments in this area.

5. Other key interventions:

In response to the catastrophic flood in Uttarakhand, FICCI had setup a taskforce to support the Uttarakhand Government in rehabilitation efforts. The taskforce, being chaired by Ms. Sudha Pillai, Former Member Secretary, Planning Commission, initiated a number of rehabilitation interventions in the state including Skill Development (other interventions are in the area of Affordable Housing, Clean Water and Sanitation, Geo Spatial Technologies and Environment). The taskforce decided to train 5000 youth from the flood affected areas, on various manufacturing sector trades and enterprise development.

a) In order to achieve this target, FICCI started training of identified youth in construction sector trades at L&T’s Pilkhuwa centre. The first batch of 100 youth (22 ST/SC) successfully completed the training in the month of December, and has now been placed at L&T’s various construction sites for a three month paid, on-the-job training.

b) FICCI also directly trained 60 youth (23 ST/SC) from flood affected areas of Uttarakhand on Enterprise Development. Out of this, around 28 have received a bank loan and are in the phase of setting-up their enterprises, while others are being provided handholding support to come up with a viable business idea and prepare a bankable business plan.

c) FICCI has also facilitated interaction between the Uttarakhand Government and Vocational Training Providers from different corners of the country. The idea was to get these Vocational Training Providers’ existing training facilities registered in Uttarakhand to enable them to train Uttarakhand youth outside the state and catalyze skill development. This intervention, in a long run, is deemed to benefit a significant number of youth—SC/ST in particular.
Following the meeting, FICCI has, as of now, submitted 10 proposals of interested training providers, to train around 15,000 Uttarakhand youth in 26 trades, in a short span of one year.

FICCI Code of Conduct on Affirmative Action

The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) strongly feels that inclusive growth is fundamental to a sustainable and harmonious development of India. In this context, mainstreaming and integrating the disadvantaged / underprivileged groups of the nation is critical. With this in view, FICCI is urging its member chambers, associations and affiliated companies to promote and adopt this code of conduct in their enterprise level policies, as part of their ‘corporate social responsibility’.

1. That the company / enterprise provides and promotes equal opportunity to all its employees and any form of bias, or discrimination based on caste, religion or gender is not practiced.
2. That the Company or any of its departments shall not use the specific information received about a person’s caste to discriminate against him/her in any form.
3. That the company / enterprise will not discriminate against employees coming from the disadvantaged / underprivileged castes or groups in any manner on matters which include recruitment, training and promotion.
4. That the company will ensure that among equally qualified individuals, preference is given to people / employees from the disadvantaged groups.
5. That the company while appointing vendors or entering into contracts for supply or purchase, would give preference to entrepreneurs from the disadvantaged group, as long as the other set requirements are met.
6. The Company will make special allocations in its budgets for upskilling and / or providing training to the disadvantaged in its employment.
7. The Company will make all attempts and seize opportunities of making investment in areas, which have heavy concentration of SC & ST population.
8. The Company will reject business alliances with individuals and organizations that practice and support discrimination in any form.
9. The Company will publish in its Annual Report all efforts taken towards establishing and implementing non-discriminatory practices.
10. The Company affirms that it will provide equal opportunity in recruitment and / or commercial dealings.

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