A new study from the University of Northern British Columbia shows the top 1,000 corporations in India are mostly filled with traditional upper class groups, known as castes, which covers only a small percentage of the country's population.
In North America, we usually discuss matters of diversity in terms of gender or ethnicity. In India, diversity means caste, said UNBC Economics professor Ajit Dayanandan, the studys lead author. I would refer to it as an old boys network except, rather than excluding women or minorities, they exclude lesser castes.
The caste system in India historically sees priests - Brahmin, warriors - Kshatryia, merchants and land owners - Viasya and commoners - Sudra.
According to Dayanandans study, forward castes make up 93 per cent of Indias corporate boards.
"The results show the Indian corporate sector is a small and closed world," said Dayanandan. This is problematic for the worlds largest democracy because there is substantial research indicating the more ethnically divided a society, the less able it is to provide public services and infrastructure on a cooperative basis. In sum, the different groups compete with one another for political and economic power to the exclusion of the others.
The study researched the top 1,0000 Indian companies, private or state owned, that took up four-fifths of the market capitalization of companies listed on India's National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange in 2010.