Recently nominated Congress candidate for upcoming general assembly elections, Nandan Nilekani, evoked a strong political debate on the otherwise sensitive subject of reservations.
The man behind UDAI, yet another controversial system, explained his stance, “They are a force for inclusion and affirmative action. Reservation exists in the public sector because we have to acknowledge as a country that certain groups of people have been discriminated against for hundreds of years.”
The discussion was in reference to a video talk of his on the subject:
His argument was based on creating a more inclusive work environment, “When it comes to the private sector however, we should encourage private companies to themselves be more proactive about inclusion, and not over-regulate them.”
However, those in favour of meritocracy were obviously left feeling betrayed by the otherwise pro-liberalisation industrialist.
So what's the difference between a politician like Lalu & Nandan Nilekani if both are for reservation in pvt sector? Pathetic!
— Latha (@Lataknair) March 17, 2014
There is no need reservation in private sector. Shame on Nandan Nilekani. Reservation already spoiled our all sector.
— Naveen Kumar (@naveengoyaljind) March 17, 2014
Reservation in Private Sector is Necessity ~ Nandan Nilekani. yes it is necessary so that talent is washed away to other powerful countries
— priyanka (@Priyalives) March 17, 2014
Many even accused him of changing sides from meritocracy to being pro-quota for political gains.
Reservation in private sector essential - Nandan Nilekani Mr. Is it you saying or your party intellect in you saying? #BC
— Sourab Sharma (@ssourab93) March 17, 2014
In his defense, Nilekani cited Infosys as an effective case study to his argument.
Considering the CEO rotation policy that Infy had, it’s hardly surprising that Nilekani talks of reservation in the private sector.
— Atul Karmarkar (@atulkarmarkar) March 18, 2014
Nilekani chose BangaloreSouth as his constituency coz of Brahmin/"professionals" concentration. Now wants reservation in private industry
— Ravi Mohan (@ravi_mohan) March 18, 2014
But people persisted,
Ex- infy Nandan Nilekani says reservation in private jobs a must...how does this promote talent, transparency and capability??
— shef gupta (@shef_35078) March 18, 2014
— Aditya Reddy (@AdityaReddyA) March 17, 2014
Not to say that many of these people were actually venting their disapproval of Nilekani's recent political move. For instance, on Facebook, too, people put forward strong reactions to what many referred as Nilekani's “change of loyalties”.
A certain Srijith Unni stated, “A group of people were discriminated against in a previous era socially and amends must be made for these communities, but in terms of formulating a policy we have often denied enough research to see how a policy holds together.”
He further questioned, “Are we not enforcing on the private sector, caste based divisions and lesser focus on performance and talent?”
Read his full post here:
But, pertinent questions were raised as well, a rarity in most online debates these days.
Nandan Nilekani is yet to answer to the motley of questions his followers have raised. In the meanwhile, the social media debate continues with as much ferocity, reviving an age old issue of independent India.