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Indian opposition asks Modi government to question Foxconn hiring practices

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -- India's opposition Congress urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on Saturday to question Foxconn about its hiring practices after Reuters reported that the Apple supplier rejects married women from iPhone assembly jobs in the country.

The government has sought a detailed report from the state of Tamil Nadu, site of a major iPhone factory where Reuters uncovered Foxconn's hiring practices. The story has sparked debates on TV channels, newspaper editorials and calls from women groups, including within Modi's party, to investigate the matter.

Congress lawmaker Karti P. Chidambaram wrote in a letter to Labour Minister Mansukh Mandaviya that Foxconn receives "substantial incentives" from the federal government and the company should be asked to explain its practices to ensure it complies with "Indian laws and values."

"While foreign investment is crucial, it should not come at the cost of disregarding our cultural values," Chidambaram wrote in the letter, posted on X.

Apple, Taiwan-based Foxconn and the ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the Congress letter.

The Reuters investigation found Foxconn has systematically excluded married women from jobs at its main India iPhone plant on the grounds they have more family responsibilities than their unmarried counterparts.

Foxconn hiring agents and HR sources cited family duties, pregnancy and higher absenteeism as reasons for not hiring married women.

Responding to the investigation, published on Tuesday, Apple and Foxconn acknowledged to Reuters lapses in hiring practices in 2022 and said they had worked to address the issues. All the discriminatory practices documented by Reuters at the Sriperumbudur plant, however, took