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Modi's government calls on Indian state to look into report on Foxconn hiring

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on Wednesday said it has asked the Tamil Nadu state to submit a "detailed report" after a Reuters story revealed that Apple supplier Foxconn rejected married women from iPhone assembly jobs in the country.

In a statement calling for the probe, the federal government's Ministry of Labor and Employment cited the Equal Remuneration Act of 1976, saying the law "clearly stipulates that no discrimination (is) to be made while recruiting men and women workers."

The ministry said it has requested a detailed report from the Labor Department of Tamil Nadu, site of a major iPhone factory where Reuters uncovered Foxconn's practice of shunning married women from jobs. The Labor Ministry said it also directed the office of the Regional Chief Labor Commissioner to provide a "factual report."

Apple and Foxconn did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the government statement. The Tamil Nadu state government did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment outside office hours.

A Reuters investigation published on Tuesday found that Foxconn has systematically excluded married women from jobs at its main India iPhone plant near Chennai in Tamil Nadu state, on the grounds they have more family responsibilities than their unmarried counterparts.

Foxconn hiring agents and HR sources interviewed by Reuters cited family duties, pregnancy and higher absenteeism as reasons why Foxconn did not hire married women at the plant.

The Ministry of Labor "takes note of media reports on married women not being allowed to work at Foxconn India Apple iPhone plant," the statement said.

Earlier, in response to questions from Reuters for its Tuesday report, Apple and Foxconn acknowledged