Quota Means Business
08 October, 2004
the ongoing debate on private sector quota for Dalits, new unknown faces
with no knowledge about the rights of Dalits and reservation have shown
up. And it's the Indian media - a bastion of Brahmans and Baniyas -
that has discovered these faces who claim to know all about the American
The discovery was
necessitated as new-age Dalits are citing the American experience.
It's important to
understand that Dalit issues are not just confined to jobs. They are
about India's democratisation, which covers capital market, industry,
trade, films, media, knowledge, and above all, land reforms. Job reservation
is just one aspect of the entire debate.
In any healthy
debate, one truth is cited to create conditions where another hundred
can bloom. However, these so-called experts are using one truth to suffocate
another hundred. In fact, they are media's spokespersons who defend
their narrow caste interests. Nowhere in the world, media has been so
partisan, ghettoized and has stooped so low. The media's new faces argue
that "there is no quota system in the US," which is true.
The experts don't
stop at this. They suggest that the Indian industry cannot afford to
fix quota, and Dalits' citation of the American model holds no ground.
However, these experts do not elaborate on what should replace quota?
the Indian media can best be exemplified by citing the experience of
The $385 billion company is a world leader in photographic equipment
and cameras and employs more than 70,000 people in 30 nations.
But what we don't know, and what the Indian media censors, are the following:
In December 2003, the Kodak Board of directors mandated a thesis called
Winning & Inclusive Culture (WIC) as social system for the company.
The thesis is based
on recommendations of the Kodak Diversity Advisory Panel, set up in
2001. Kodak resolved to "strive to eliminate under-representation
in jobs in the United States by December 2006".
In line with the
WIC social system, the company issued a policy statement: "Kodak
conducts business in a competitive global environment. Its customers,
markets, and employees span many cultures and backgrounds. This reality
guides recruitment and retention efforts in Kodak."
Kodak, in its 2003
annual report, stated: "Despite workforce reductions and continuing
global economic uncertainties, the company worked to sustain its diverse
US workforce demographics for women and people of colour."
In a path-breaking
move, the company set up The Kodak CEO Diversity Award.
The award recognises
an executive who demonstrates exemplary leadership and embraces the
mindset and behaviours that lead to a diverse and inclusive work group."
In other words,
Kodak awards an executive who excels in recruiting more candidates of
An American White
racial group has begun describing Kodak as 'Kodakquota'.
Kodak's 2000 annual
report shows that the racial/ ethnic minorities comprised 21% of the
workforce. However, there was a reduction in the total workforce.
At the level of
Board of Directors, minorities comprised 8% in 2000, which went up to
33% by 2002.
At senior manager/
director/ manager/ supervisor levels, minorities comprised 12% in 2000,
which went up to 14% by 2002.
The SHRM (Society
for Human Resources Management), a world leader in the field, has come
out with a stunning report. In its study on 50 Fortune 500 companies
admired by minorities, 76% "award bonuses to managers who achieve
measurable diversity goals".
Most of these 50
American companies are leading MNCs, where most Indian management/ engineering
graduates dream to work.
The study found
that "62% job seekers prefer to work for organisations with a commitment
Most American companies
focus on setting goals and striving to achieve them instead of cribbing
about the quota system.
Kodak is just an