The Times of India

November 4, 2011

NEW DELHI: The proposal to make it mandatory for central government bodies to source at least 4% of their purchases from enterprises owned by Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes was greeted with scepticism in the Cabinet, before an invocation of Congress president Sonia Gandhi  made the doubting Thomases fall in line.

Sources said a number of members of the Cabinet, including three who are in-charge of large PSUs, strongly expressed their reservations about the proposal. One the sceptics doubted there
were enough entrepreneurs among dalits/tribals to help the government meet the mandatory requirement, while another expressed the fear of quality being compromised.

The misgivings threatened to hold up the decision when one of the attendees reminded his colleagues that it was Congress president Sonia Gandhi who had made a commitment to give preference to dalit/tribal enterprises in government procurements. The Cabinet minister recalled that Sonia, who visited South Africa in August 2007, was impressed by the country’s policy to leverage public procurements to encourage businesses promoted by blacksRead more.