Infosys co-founder and Congress candidate for Bangalore South Lok Sabha seat Nandan Nilekani today said he supports job reservation in public sector, but the private sector should not be over-regulated and instead be encouraged to be more proactive about inclusion.
"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. The focus should be on job creation - on creating more opportunity, rather than just dividing up existing opportunity," he said in his blog.
The clarification by the former UIDAI chief came after he was reported in a section of media as having said reservation was necessary in the private sector.
His reported statement had come in for immediate attack from his former Infosys senior colleague T V Mohandas Pai, who had tweeted "selling his soul for power; made his money in the company wedded to meritocracy."
Nilakeni, who takes on BJP leader and five-time MP Ananth Kumar in middle-class dominated Bangalore South, said the private sector had been a powerful force for job creation.
"The jobs they created have rapidly increased the opportunities available for our people. Infosys alone created several lakh new jobs, as did the many IT companies that came after it. And it is this that we should be focusing on. And this will be my continued priority for Bengaluru and its people," he added.
Nilekani said he favoured reservations that currently exist in the public sector, which 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," he said.
Nilekani also said the accessible open markets and a strong private sector bring with them powerful caste and class solvents- through education and job creation that is not tied to community identity, and through access to capital and infrastructure that does not depend on family or caste connections.
Nilekani was quoted by a section of the media as having said at a media interaction that reservations in private sector are necessary.
"In India, certain sections of society, because of historical reasons, were handicapped and thus require a leg up through reservations. Even at Infosys we tried encouraging people of all backgrounds," Nilekani was quoted as saying.