”What advances a nation or community is not so much to prop up its weakest and most helpless members as to lift up the best and most gifted so as to make them of greatest service to the country. I prefer this constructive philosophy.” – Jamsetji Tata
Creating employment is the first step in ensuring social sustainability. Even when demand for unskilled and semi-skilled labour is reducing in developing and developed economies, Tata Steel endeavours to achieve total self-sufficiency for people through profitable employment opportunities. Where agriculture is the main economic activity, trends such as globalisation mean that simple subsistence farming is becoming less viable and social problems arise from migration caused by failure in farming. To address these problems, Tata Steel works with local people in rural and urban areas to harness resources and skills that are available to develop opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.
In developing and developed economies, demand for unskilled and semi-skilled labour is reducing. Even where agriculture is the main economic activity, trends such as globalisation mean that simple subsistence farming is becoming less viable and social problems arise from migration caused by the inability of agriculture to support a large workforce. To address these problems Tata Steel works with local people in rural and urban areas to harness resources and skills that are available to develop opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.
Tata Steel Rural Development Society as a part its interventions in the areas of sustainable livelihood has focused on improving agricultural productivity. Some major projects initiated in this direction are:
- In the first collaborative project with Agriculture Consultancy and Management Foundation (ACMF), Chennai, interventions in approximately 20 acres resulted in increased productivity of 2.25 tonnes per acre in the first year of the programme against the target of two tonnes per acre.
- The second pilot project on dry land farming with International Crop Research Institute for Semi Arid Tropic (ICRISAT), Hyderabad, developed nearly 22 acres of land resulting in increased yields. In addition, 2800 acres of wasteland has been developed. Second and third cropping in about 3300 acres of land has been facilitated through 65 water-harvesting structures.
- Around 9000 acres of land has been brought under cashew and mango plantation, benefitting around 3700 households from 129 villages of East Singhbhum district, Jharkhand.
- In order to encourage skill development and resource building, community based organisations, such as watershed committees, village development committees and users groups have been formed to build a sense of ownership among the village community.
- At the Joda East Iron Mine in Odisha, Tata Steel has also introduced a scientific rainwater harvesting system to check the depleting levels of ground water. A large storage-cum-percolation lake has been constructed at a favourable location to pool in the water from the vast catchment area around the lake. This project will help increase the ground water levels of surrounding settlements, including the Joda township.
- 1587 youth have undergone skills training by in-house resources as well as by professional bodies.
Joda Case Study on Wasteland
A plot of wasteland of nearly one acre, in Joda East was given to TSRDS to try out some innovative methods to convert the land for agriculture productivity. TSRDS mobilised a group of youth club members, who formed an SHG to take up this initiative. They were provided with technical support as they were engaged in this kind of initiatives for the first time. They were also given training and financial support to hire farm implements and labour. After a lot of sweat and hard work the patch of land actually started showing signs of green and this was motivation enough for farmers who had earlier refused to believe in the possibilities. They worked on the land diligently and the labour paid off when it began to produce vegetables like bottle gourd, ladies finger, spinach, cabbage, capsicum etc. After nearly four months of hard work this group earned a sum of Rs. 75000. The total investment in the project by the groups and TSRDS was nearly Rs. 17500 and therefore the net profit stood at a grand Rs. 57500 for all.
Irrigation Projects, Jamadoba
In the mining areas, large volume of water is required for various mining operations. To have a judicious use of the mining wastewater, TSRDS Jamdoba unit, constructed 2700 ft of irrigation channels to lead the water coming out from mines to the farmer’s field for irrigation. The Project has benefitted around 1700 farmers from 18 villages, which are around the mining areas. This initiative has helped farmers to irrigate their land at the time of stress and also in taking second and third crop.
In addition to the channel, the unit also constructed three lift irrigation projects to use the mine water and the water from the river and streams. This water was made available to the fields.
- The SRI technique of paddy cultivation instituted by Tata Steel has increased the yield per acre to 2.5 tonnes / acre.
- To increase cropping intensity, 3177 acres have been brought under 2nd and 3rd crop cultivation.
- For wasteland development, 1015 acres of wasteland was brought under horticulture.
Case study of a farmer- Mukhiya
Ghasiram Mahato used to grow only paddy as crop in one season, the yield of which was just enough for him to meet the annual consumption of his nine member family. He had five acres of land out of which 4 acres was cultivable while one acre was ‘Tand goda land’. His eldest son worked temporarily as an unskilled labour, where availability of work was for about six to seven months in a year.
His situation changed when he learnt multi-cropping techniques from TSRDS. In the Kharif season now the average yield was 2 tonnes per acre. He utilised the productivity of 2 acres of land for consumption in the family and the remaining paddy from 2 acres of land was sold.
Ghasiram Mahato also cultivated Rabi crop in approximately 1 acre of land. The output he got was 3500 kg of ladies finger (vegetable), 40 kg of mustard and 100 kgs of wheat. Out of these, ladies finger was sold in the market and it brought a net profit of Rs.14000.00. The entire mustard and wheat was kept for his own consumption.
For the first time in his life Gahsiram Mahato had seen substantial yield from his land and he has to thank TSRDS for his change of fortune.
Self-Help Groups (SHGs) have emerged as an extremely successful mechanism for Tata Steel to enlarge the scope for women from socially and economically marginalised communities to participate in family decision-making and gain access to grassroot democratic institutions while also boosting their economic self-reliance.
The Company empowers SHG members through capacity building programmes with the aim of effecting change through their collective strength. 727 women’s SHGs supported by it are operating successfully, benefitting 9089 female members. Of these, 35 SHGs have been linked to entrepreneurship development, empowering its members.
The world of tribals is unique and has to be dealt with special care. The Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS), a corporate NGO supported by Tata Steel and the Tribal Cultural Society (TCS), a non-profit organisation promoted by Tata Steel, are both instrumental in providing sustainable livelihood to the community around its areas of operations. Tata Steel seeks to secure the interests of the marginalised and provides sustainable solutions to their concerns in its operational areas. The Company covers over 800 villages under its social responsiveness initiatives in the states of Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhatisgarh.
The launch of 15 centres for tribal languages in Jamshedpur led to more than 900 youth being reintroduced to their Santhali and Ho scripts. Three traditional tribal sports - Chhur, Bahu-Chor and Kati – were revived through tribal sports tournaments including the annual Kati Sports Tournament. Inclusion of tribal children into mainstream education received a tremendous fillip with 100 girls being enrolled in schools, which supported this initiative by Tata Steel.
- Formation of Self Help Groups.
- Arranging for credit in self-employment ventures.
- Encouraging micro enterprises like dokra, carpet weaving, terracotta, mat making, food processing, poultry farming, mushroom farming, pisciculture and floriculture.
The aim of Tata Steel is to respect and protect the rights of indigenous communities at its business locations. This is often particularly relevant for new operations and in developing countries. In addition to respecting the legal rights of indigenous communities - scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in India - it also considers social, cultural and economic rights. The Company has developed and implemented many initiatives in alignment with the policy on Affirmative Action and adoption of the Code of Conduct for Affirmative Action.
Tata Steel Rural Development Society and Tribal Cultural Society help the Company to achieve this through various activities in India.
Representatives across all its units regularly engage with village opinion leaders, youth and women to integrate the aspirations of indigenous communities within the social strategy of the Company. This consultative approach, precluding the need for a formal agreement, has ensured an enduring and peaceful relationship with indigenous communities. This has given Tata Steel the continued social license to operate in these communities.
Case Study: Rope Making by Birhor Community at West Bokaro unit
Birhors are known for making ropes traditionally from ‘Mohlan’ tree barks and this skill is used as their main source of income. With the depletion of forests, the ‘Mohlan’ trees have become rare. Therefore, Birhors have turned to other artificial materials like plastic. For Tata Steel the Birhor rope makers have become a part of the supply chain, as low priced durable ropes are very suitable in tying packages. Since these ropes are made from the gunny bags of Tata Steel washery and CCL, there is also a check on pollution, which is a very important factor from the environment point of view.
Tata Steel has been quick to anticipate the emerging needs of the woman of today in every sector, and especially so in the rural and marginalised segment. The Company has undertaken many pioneering initiatives in empowerment programmes for women, one of which was ‘Tejaswini’, launched in 2002. It signalled a new beginning and focused on Tata Steel’s women employees on the shop floor at jobs which were till then were strictly considered as the male domain.
‘Tejaswini” was an initiative undertaken for the Rejas and the Office Girls who were willing to operate heavy motor equipment. Being an equal opportunities employer, Tata Steel designed this programme to transform the female employees into proficient operators of heavy mobile equipment like tractors and locomotives.
Some initiatives of Tata Steel under the Women Empowerment Programme may be listed as follows:
- Since the early 1970s Tata Steel has been taking in Lady Graduate Trainees. Initiatives have been taken to train women in the required mechanical skills through Female Trade Apprentice courses.
- A Women Empowerment Cell has been set up at Tata Steel as a special wing at the IR Division. It looks after women’s issues in addition to organising need-based training facilities for the underprivileged.
- The Sexual Harassment Redressal Committee has been constituted in adherence to the Company’s Code of Conduct Clause of an Equal Opportunity employer.
- The Legal Awareness Programme for Women aims at educating women on legal issues at home and the workplace. Sessions are also held on Financial Investments, Consumer Rights, Environment laws and Crime etc.
- The Adult Literacy Programme has been launched at Tata Steel Works in association with Tata Consultative Services.
- Under SA-8000, Tata Steel has initiated an awareness programme for the welfare of the women employed in the contractor’s cell.
- A Trust for Women Empowerment – ‘Basera’- has been set up for the wives and daughters of the employees. The Domestic Management Programme (DMP) is one of the most successful programmes under Tata Steel’s women empowerment initiative.
Case Study: Full speed ahead - The case of Ms Kunti Nanda-Professional Woman Driver
This is a story of pioneering women breaking barriers and gaining acceptability in a trade traditionally regarded as male territory.
Four women---Ms Kunti Nanda, Ms Sumitra Dehuri, Ms Sunita Sahoo and Ms Nirmala Laguri came forward with the fervor to make an imprint on society and took up jobs with Triveni Mining Industries. TSRDS made a thorough study of the area to see that the area was congenial for women and offered full support in relocation.
Ms Kunti Nanda, a poor widow with two children, was dependent on her in-laws who needed to be especially convinced that her welfare would be looked after. The four women who were earlier daily wage earners have endured well in their new trade. In spite of all kinds of social pressures they have become role models for other women in similar circumstances.
Case Study: The success story of Sukanti Murmu
A simple husking machine was all it took for the smiles to return to the faces of Sukanti Murmu and her husband, Shyamsundar. Sukanti is a member of the Hirla Marang Buru Self-Help Group (SHG) in Tangiriapal, Keonjhar, Odisha. Sukanti purchased a husking machine with the help of her SHG. Her small venture, which started in a makeshift shed, is just one small success story. She works at the machine along with her husband
and the two have managed to pay off their loan, and also ensured that they have a steady income every month.
Tata Steel has extended its family beyond immediate employees to the larger community through various programmes that include economic benefit of local people. Encouraging local hiring and promoting supply chain at the base of the pyramid are a part of the Company’s continuous emphasis on inclusive growth and enhancement of stakeholder value.
Engaging Local Workforce
Whilst Tata Steel has a policy of hiring the best available talent in the country for its jobs, and sourcing globally according to knowledge-based and value-driven buying principles, the Company is also mindful about ensuring that local people are able to benefit from the economic opportunities that its activities offer. Therefore local candidates for employment are considered favourably if they possess the required qualification, skills and talent.
Tata Steel's policy for local hiring is guided by the Tata Code of Conduct, Affirmative Action Policy and Resettlement & Rehabilitation Policy. While a significant number of employees are from local communities, ~15% of the Company's employees belong to scheduled castes or scheduled tribes, which constitute indigenous communities in India. The Company expects this number to continue to grow as youth from its greenfield locations Odisha and Chhattisgarh, currently undergoing pre-employment technical training, join its workforce.
Social Responsibility Initiatives in Procurement
In accordance with its Affirmative Action Policy, Tata Steel encourages business entrepreneurs from socially disadvantaged communities and includes them in its supply chain on the basis of equal merit. The Company has leveraged its growth projects to diversify its workforce through positive discrimination in favour of local, marginalised communities and women. A noticeable uptrend has been seen in 2012-13 in the number of new hires from indigenous tribes or socially backward classes. During a recent recruitment drive of Utility hands from amongst the employee wards & locals a conscious effort was made to improve the gender diversity and affirmative action profile by inducting 8 per cent females and 33 per cent SC&ST candidates. Under its Affirmative Action programme Tata Steel actively promotes the proportion of business awarded to vendors/ suppliers from these communities.
As a social responsibility initiative, social organisations and small-scale local industries are given preference over larger players when the Company is placing orders, provided they are able to match the required standards. For example, many items are sourced from local NGOs such as AIWC, Seva Sadan, School of Hope and Bal Vihar.
The Company intervenes as an employability enabler by bridging the gap between the demand for and availability of vocational training programmes for youth. These programmes are designed to train youth for entry-level positions in the organised sector. The objective is to convert the potential talent pool into a trained and readily employable force. In 2012-13, nearly 2200 youth were trained in various vocational trades across locations with 597 of them finding immediate gainful employment.
- In-house employability programmes: These programmes utilise its pool of in-house resource persons and offer training on vocational trades such as site safety supervision, motor driving, construction training, assorted training programmes, IT based trainings and technical training.
- Linking youth to external employability programmes: The Company partners with Indian Hotels, PRATHAM, Anudip Foundation, PanIIT Alumni Reach for India (PARFI), Aide-et-Action and TBSS (Tata Business Support Service) to run employability training programmes for the youth.
- In 2012-13 Tata Steel set up an Industrial Training Centre at Tamar in partnership with the Government of Jharkhand and NTTF (Nettur Technical Training Foundation). The institute offers two-year vocational courses in Fitter and Electrician trades.
- In Odisha the Company inaugurated a new training centre ‘Prerana’ to impart Modular Employable Skills to youth from relocated families. The training centre has been set up to up-skill illiterate and semiliterate persons.
Tata Steel's initiatives in the direction of creating sustainable livelihood opportunities for small artisans and rural women include the recently launched 'Karigar - Okhai', a unique handicraft outlet in Jamshedpur. The outlet showcases a blend of traditional handicrafts from the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand and the western Indian state of Gujarat.
Inaugurated on June 20, 2014 by the Chief Guest Mr. Amitava Bakshi, Chief, Procurement, the outlet is a joint initiative between Tata Steel's Urban Services department and Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD). It brings the best from both - the KARIGAR shop started by Urban Services, Tata Steelin 2002 in Jamshedpur housing handicraft items and the TCSRD's OKHAI brand name that provides income opportunities to over 350 women engaged in making colourful and aesthetically unique pieces of Appliqué Work.
A delight for handicraft lovers, 'Karigar - Okhai' is a perfect platform for artisans hailing from socially and economically marginalized communities to present their creativity and earn a livelihood.
The Urban Services Department at the Baridih Centre in Jamshedpur offers a host of vocational training programmes for the development of women, especially those from surrounding ‘bastis’ (urban settlements). The Centre offers skill-building vocational trainings on sewing and design embroidery, mehendi rachna, zari work, fabric painting and personal grooming. These trainings open a new pathway to economic self-reliance, arming these women with a new found skill to earn.
On May 9, 2014, Urban Services organised the Annual Convocation Ceremony of various Women Empowerment Programmes at the Centre. Mrs. Sunita Pathak, eminent community social worker, graced this occasion as the Chief Guest. Mr. R.S. Pandey - Sr. Manager, Urban Services, Mrs. Gurbari Hembram - Manager, Urban Services and members of the Baridih Community Centre also attended the programme. Mrs. Pathak appreciated the initiatives of the Urban Services Department under the Corporate Relations Division of Tata Steel and said that these initiatives empower women to become self-dependent.
90 certificates were distributed to successful students. The programme concluded with a cultural programme by the students. The programme ended with the vote of thanks by the Mr. R.S. Pandey, Sr. Manager, Urban Services, Tata Steel.