India’s Renewed Commitment to DEI: Unveiling Challenges and Ensuring Accountability

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India’s Renewed Commitment to DEI: Unveiling Challenges and Ensuring Accountability

| Updated: June 29, 2024 17:52

As India marches towards establishing a stronger, inclusive government, a spotlight shines on the vital goals set towards diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). Amid ambitious economic targets, the need for a workforce that embodies inclusion cannot be ignored, particularly for those who have long been underrepresented or subjected to discrimination.

The Indian Constitution guarantees equality before the law and prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth (Article 15). Embracing DEI principles not only aligns with these constitutional values but also reinforces a commitment to equal rights and opportunities for all citizens. Inclusive workplaces are proven to foster innovation and creativity by bringing together diverse perspectives, experiences, and talents. By championing DEI, India can unlock its workforce’s full potential, driving economic growth and enhancing global competitiveness.

However, ensuring the responsible implementation of DEI policies and selecting appropriate leaders to champion these initiatives is crucial. Those who require assistance or acknowledgment under DEI programs have been let down in the past, making it essential that DEI leaders serve as true role models for society and industry.

While government policies are pivotal in selecting the right implementors at legislative and regulatory levels, the responsibility also lies with private companies specializing in DEI to advance this vision. The leadership and board of these companies must reflect the right values and character to drive such a critical and sensitive program into the mainstream workforce.

The Reality Check: Ampera Diversity Private Limited Under Scrutiny

A stark contrast emerges when examining companies like Ampera Diversity Private Limited, based in Chennai. Despite its claims of leadership committed to the inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in every societal facet, the credentials and integrity of its leaders raise significant concerns.

Ampera’s website prominently features Mr. Srimanikandan Ramamoorthy as a part of its core team, highlighting his background in finance, IT, and real estate. However, key details are conspicuously absent. According to a UK-based legal publication, Global Investigations Review, Mr. Ramamoorthy, an ex-Cognizant employee, is the U.S. government’s key witness in the trial of two former Cognizant executives accused of authorizing him to pay a bribe. Ramamoorthy himself is under investigation in India for paying multiple bribes to government officials to obtain necessary permits for Cognizant real estate projects. Further, he is being investigated by  multiple FIRs against him in Pune and Chennai, and active police investigations underway.

With Ramamoorthy having confessed his crimes in the U.S., the question arises: can an organization like Ampera, led by a confessed criminal, be trusted to champion the cause of the underrepresented? DEI programs in India, backed by state and central government resources, rely heavily on the integrity of the companies that implement them. Can the government and companies place their trust in Ampera with such dubious leadership at its helm?

A Call for Transparency and Integrity

The inclusion of Ramamoorthy in Ampera’s leadership raises critical questions. Is it a genuine oversight by Ampera’s directors, or a calculated decision to leverage his questionable methods for obtaining grants and support? Ampera and its directors owe a comprehensive explanation to stakeholders and the public.

DEI is essential to India’s social fabric, economic prosperity, legal framework, global standing, corporate governance, and educational development. It is imperative to safeguard the cause against corruption. As investigations continue, the onus is on ensuring that DEI initiatives remain in the hands of true champions of equity and integrity.

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