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Quotas no scare for TVS, Leyland
S Kalyana Ramanathan in New Delhi
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June 05, 2006 10:46 IST

While India Inc in general is railing against the idea of reservations in the private sector, some manufacturing companies say the number of employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes on their rolls already adds up close to what the government wants.

The government has mooted the idea of reserving 22.5 per cent of jobs for SCs and STs and 27 per cent for OBCs in the private sector.

Reservation rocks India's boat

Ashok Leyland [Get Quote] and the TVS [Get Quote] Group said over 50 per cent of their workforce belonged to the OBC and SC/ST categories. The TVS Group has substantial interest in manufacturing, with an employee base of over 20,000.

With a few exceptions like Sundram Finance and Harita Finance, most group companies like TVS Motor, Sundram Fasteners [Get Quote], Lucas TVS, Brakes India, and Sundram Brake Linings employ workers belonging to SC/ST and OBC categories in a substantial number, the company said.

TVS Motor chairman and managing director Venu Srinivasan said, "We recruit bright boys and girls from regional engineering colleges; a substantial portion of these belong to the backward communities." TVS Motor alone employs 5,000 people.

Ashok Leyland has on its rolls around 12,000 people. R Seshasayee, its managing director, said over 50 per cent of them belonged to the backward communities.

In his capacity as CII president, Seshasayee has also commissioned a report on collating the data for leading CII members. "CII is putting together the numbers we have collected from our members. The report should be out soon," he said.

According to Bajaj Auto [Get Quote] Chairman Rahul Bajaj, the company has close to 35 per cent of its 11,000-strong workforce belonging to these categories. A small group like component-maker Sona is said to have 19 per cent of its employees from the SC/ST category.

It is learnt that given the nature of work, the manufacturing sector employs close to 80-85 per cent of its shop floor workers from the reserved categories.

"People coming from the so-called forward class prefer more sophisticated work than being turners and machinists on the shop floor. This, by itself, has created immense opportunities for the backward communities," said a CEO of a leading automobile company.

The nature of the work apart, the location of some units in backward areas has been a good reason for employing locals belonging to the backward communities.

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