Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out



									tata affirmative action programme
   assessors’ recognition 2012
EditEd and crEatEd by

in association with The Information Company

For more information on the Tata Affirmative Action Programme, please contact:
Pinakshi Khandelwal
Project manager, Tata Affirmative Action Programme,
Tata Sons

All matter in this publication is under copyright and may not be
reproduced without permission.
Contents                                                                  Case study

                                                                                     ExcEllEncE in
                                                                                     affirmativE action
                                                                                     Three Tata companies
                                                                                     showcase their best
                                                                                     practices in the 4Es
 Overview                                                                            (education, employment,

      tata affirmativE action programmE                                              employability and
      assEssors’ rEcognition 2012                                                    entrepreneurship) of
      July 6, 2012, saw the first Tata Affirmative Action Programme                  the Tata Affirmative
      Assessors’ Recognition at the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai                       Action Programme


                                    12         in thE right
                                               Raymond Bickson,
                                               MD and CEO, Indian
                                               Hotels, shares his

                                               views about a range
                                               of issues related to
                                               affirmative action
                                               within the Tata group      BrEaking castE hiErarchiEs
                                                                          Chandrabhan Prasad, social

            thE virtuous                                                  anthropologist and commentator on
            cyclE of positivE                                             caste in India, talks about what it means
            Discrimination                                                to be a Dalit in India and how capitalism
            R Mukundan, MD,                                               can help break the caste conundrum
            Tata Chemicals, talks
            about how the Tata

            Affirmative Action
            Programme is being
            implemented at
            Tata Chemicals

                                                social justicE
                                                Tata Power MD Anil
                                                Sardana says that         Dalit capitalism for
                                                collaboration of Tata     social BalancE
                                                companies will enhance    Milind Kamble, DICCI chairman,
                                                the effectiveness of      explains the rationale for DICCI and
                                                the group’s affirmative   its expectations from the Tata group’s
                                                action efforts            affirmative action programme


       TAAP Assessors’
       Recognition 2012

       Cyrus Mistry, deputy chairman, Tata Sons,                  B Muthuraman, chairman, Group Affirmative Action
       commenting on the affirmative action programme             Forum, and vice chairman, Tata Steel, delivering the
       during the assessors’ recognition function                 welcome address

                               uly 6, 2012, saw the first Tata            involved in the initiative, saying, “By undertaking
                               Affirmative Action Programme               affirmative action in your companies you are
                               Assessors’ Recognition at the Crystal      rectifying a historical injustice and helping to right
                               Room, Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai,          the discriminatory wrongs faced over centuries
                     an event that had senior Tata executives and         by the scheduled caste and scheduled tribe
                     affirmative action assessors in attendance.          communities, something that is long overdue.”
                     The group’s 95 assessors (84 of who were                   Mr Muthuraman also quoted Ratan
                     present at the event) were recognised for their      Tata, Chairman, Tata Sons, to underscore
                     efforts in assessing the 28 Tata companies that      “the importance of facilitating integration
                     participated in the Tata Affirmative Action          through the affirmative action programme
                     Programme (TAAP) in 2010 and 2011.                   rather than just giving easy entitlements”. He
                          The felicitation began with a welcome           also emphasised that we must enable equal
                     address given by B Muthuraman, chairman, Group       opportunities through the affirmative action
                     Affirmative Action Forum, and vice chairman,         programme without sacrificing merit.
                     Tata Steel. He applauded the efforts of all those          A brief overview of TAAP by Ajay Kumar,


A panel discussion in progress. L-R: B Muthuraman; Anil Sardana, MD, Tata Power; Raymond
Bickson, MD and CEO, Indian Hotels; Philip Auld, CEO, Trent; AK Chattopadhyay, MD, TRL
Krosaki Refractories and R Mukundan, MD, Tata Chemicals

was followed by presentations on best practices       examples of how the Dalit communities have
in the area of affirmative action at three Tata       been deprived of their rights and discriminated
companies — Trent, Tata Consultancy Services          against in matters of equity over the centuries.
(TCS) and Tata Power Delhi Distribution (TPDD).       He also explained why it is imperative for Indian
      A panel discussion that followed helped set     companies to engage in affirmative action in the
a perspective on the affirmative action initiatives   larger interest of the nation.
undertaken by various Tata companies, with the              Milind Kamble, chairman, Dalit Indian
panelists discussing the activities undertaken by     Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DICCI)
the companies and their views on the initiatives.     and Chandrabhan Prasad, eminent commentator
The panel comprised Tata Chemicals MD                 on issues of the Dalit communities, spoke
R Mukundan, TRL Krosaki Refractories MD               subsequently. They urged Tata companies to
AK Chattopadhyay, Trent CEO Philip Auld, Indian       improve on their supplier diversity chain and to
Hotels MD and CEO Raymond Bickson, Tata               work more with Dalit vendors.
Power MD Anil Sardana, and Mr Muthuraman.                   The highlight of the programme was the
      Each of the CEOs spoke about some of the        recognition of the assessors. Cyrus Mistry, deputy
affirmative action initiatives undertaken at their    chairman, Tata Sons, presented certificates of
companies and why they think it is important.         appreciation to the 26 teams of assessors.
Later, the discussion was thrown open to the                Commenting on the group’s affirmative
audience, which resulted in energetic dialogue.       action programme, Mr Mistry said that he is
Trent, TCS and TPDD then presented accounts           extremely proud to be part of a business group
of their best practices in affirmative action.        that acts so energetically on its faith in justice
These practices, selected by a jury including Tata    and affirmative action. “We take many things for
executives as well as external experts in social      granted and it is important to give back to society
development, are focused on specific areas of the     many times over. We cannot work through
4Es — education, employment, employability            compliance; we must work through compassion
and entrepreneurship.                                 and commitment. We have a long way ahead but
      Dr Mohan Gopal, director, Rajiv Gandhi          the momentum should continue,” he said.
Institute for Contemporary Studies, New Delhi,              The event concluded with a vote of thanks
gave an enlightening speech on historically           by NK Sharan, vice president, Tata Quality
derived social inequity. He gave several              Management Services. ¨

    case study

                 Excellence in
                 affirmative action
                 Three Tata companies — Trent, Tata Power Delhi Distribution and
                 Tata Consultancy Services — showcase their best practices in the
                 4Es (education, employment, employability and entrepreneurship)
                 that form the backbone of the Tata Affirmative Action Programme

                     n the 2011 application and             the Tata Affirmative Action Programme
                     assessment cycle of affirmative        — comprising Dr RA Mashelkar, former
                     action, three Tata companies           director of the Council for Scientific and
                     were awarded for their initiatives     Industrial Research; Dr S Parasuraman,
                 in helping to improve the lives of         director, Tata Institute of Social Sciences;
                 scheduled caste and tribe (SC and          Homi Khusrokhan, former MD, Tata
                 ST) communities. In particular, these      Chemicals, and director, ICICI Bank;
                 companies were recognised for their        and B Muthuraman, chairman, Group
                 focus and best practice in one area each   Affirmative Action Forum, and vice
                 of the 4Es — education, employment,        chairman, Tata Steel — decided on the
                 employability and entrepreneurship         final awards to be given.
                 — that form the backbone of the                 Representatives from the three
                 affirmative action programme within        winning companies described the
                 the Tata group.                            best practices undertaken at their
                      Trent received the best practice      respective companies at the first-ever
                 award for employment, Tata Power           Tata Affirmative Action Programme
                 Delhi Distribution for education and       Assessors’ Recognition on July 6, 2012,
                 Tata Consultancy Services for its          held at the Crystal Room at the Taj
                 employability programme. The jury for      Mahal Palace in Mumbai.

                                                                                                    case study


T    he jury found Trent’s example of
     recruitment from marginalised scheduled
caste and tribe communities to be worthy
                                                        Although Trent has increased the ratio of
                                                  employees from the SC and ST communities
                                                  over the years, it has not been an easy task.
of emulation. Currently, about 17 percent         One of the challenges that Trent faces is a
of its staff of 6,500 belongs to the SC or ST     high attrition rate; this is common in the
communities. Trent hopes to increase this ratio   retail business due to the nature of the job
in the coming years.                              which requires a lot of physical activity and
      As part of its endeavour to institute       compares poorly with a desk job in the BPO
sustainable development initiatives in favour     industry. Additionally, the company also faces
of marginalised communities, the company          the challenge of an underdeveloped talent pool
has set a target for recruiting employees from    among the SC and ST communities.
the SC and ST communities for its retail stores         Notwithstanding these problems, the
across the country. Providing equal opportunity   company has made significant progress in
employment to all sections of society forms a     employing SC and ST candidates by weaving
core part of Trent’s recruitment policy.          affirmative action into its growth strategy and

Beneficiaries of the Star and Diya initiatives

Candidates trained under the Saksham programme with their certificates

    case study

                 recognising the need to do so. Further, even        job training where candidates are also given a
                 as it works towards meeting set targets for         stipend. The trained candidates are also tested
                 recruiting from these communities, Trent is         and given certificates by Trent, which adds
                 also working towards enhancing the career           value and helps them in their job hunt. To
                 opportunities for employees recruited under         date, Trent has helped train a total of 449 such
                 its affirmative action initiatives, helping them    youth, of who 309 are from scheduled castes
                 to improve their skills to make them eligible to    and 69 from scheduled tribe communities. In
                 move ahead in their careers.                        the area of entrepreneurship too, Trent plans
                                                                     to develop some of the existing vendors chosen
                 SakSham, an iniTiaTive in                           under the affirmative action programme as
                 capaciTy-building                                   role models. It also plans to work closely with
                 “Besides providing employment opportunities to      suppliers, including weavers from marginalised
                 the local youth we also provide training through    communities, to enhance entrepreneurial skills.
                 our employability programme, Saksham, which               Trent has also initiated financial support
                 was initiated in 2009,” explains Sanjay Rastogi,    programmes for marginalised communities
                 head, corporate HR, Trent.                          — organising collections at its stores during
                       Saksham — which means ‘capable’               Christmas and Diwali, under the Star and Diya
                 in Sanskrit — is a unique and pioneering            (traditional lamp) initiatives, respectively.
                 vocational training programme that Trent            Customers are encouraged to contribute a
                 has started in association with several partner     small amount, put up a star on a Christmas tree
                 nonprofits. Under this programme, youth             or light a diya.
                 from SC and ST communities learn about the                The proceeds collected go towards
                 retail sector and acquire skills that improve       providing financial support through nonprofits
                 their employability, not just at Trent but also     for educational scholarships, midday meals,
                 at other retail organisations. The programme’s      infrastructure development and other
                 syllabus has been developed by Trent and has        resources for disadvantaged schoolchildren.
                 been approved by the National Commission of         “In the year 2011-12 we supported 23
                 Vocational Training; the training programme         nonprofit projects and approximately 5,000
                 includes store visits, guest lectures by business   children through this education and nutrition
                 leaders, peer integrated learning and on-the-       programme,” says Mr Rastogi. ¨

                 TaTa power delhi diSTribuTion

                 T    ata Power Delhi Distribution (TPDD)
                      serves about five million people in north
                 and northwest Delhi, including a large section
                                                                     Delhi government schools. Nearly 40 percent
                                                                     of the population residing in the slum clusters
                                                                     and resettlement colonies in the area served by
                 that has been historically marginalised, both       TPDD belong to the SC or ST communities.
                 socially and economically.                                The company found that children
                       TPDD has undertaken several affirmative       from these communities had a high school-
                 action initiatives focused on education.            dropout rate. This, together with the fact
                 Education improves employability, states the        that these communities have limited or no
                 TPDD proposal for affirmative action, and           financial resources, and in the social context
                 hence most of its activities have focused on        of decreasing demand for unskilled and
                 these specific Es — education and employment.       semi-skilled labour, placed the youth at an
                 TPDD received the best practices award for          increasingly disadvantaged situation, lowering
                 education, and was particularly recognised          their opportunities to enter the mainstream
                 for the scholarship scheme it introduced at         workplace or contribute to the economy.

                                                                                                         case study

      This triggered TPDD to take on the Shiksha
initiative of ‘Igniting aspirations and creating
livelihoods’ across the education chain for SC
and ST students. Under this scheme, TPDD
works with 26 government schools to select
and provide holistic educational support and
assistance, including the provision of mentoring
and counselling services for students. In the
three years since the scheme was started, not
only have all students passed the Class 10 and
12 public board exams, the number of students
receiving over 70 percent marks in these board
exams has increased significantly. Moreover, there
has been a noticeable improvement in all-round
performance, which has helped the students to
become more confident and competitive.

Technology Training for                               Beneficiaries of an adult literacy centre
TPDD also supports technical education and
has tied up with industrial training institutes,
polytechnic institutes, engineering colleges and
other centres of professional studies to offer
added advantage to the SC and ST students.
It has also mobilised employees to offer
their technical competencies for imparting
electricians’ training to the unemployed SC
and ST youths. Students from the marginalised
communities are selected for the courses on the
basis of means cum merit.
      “This is a unique attempt in aiming to
support education in a holistic manner and
integrating the entire education chain. It includes
educational and financial support, mentoring
and monitoring of their performance at
different levels, creating role models for higher
education, enhancing quality of life, and creating    Electrician training programme in progress
livelihoods,” explains Sushil Kumar Srivastava,
general manager, corporate sustainability. More       in other organisations. Mr Srivastava adds,
than 1,000 students have been provided this           “Affirmative action has been a unique socio-
support in schools and professional institutions      economic business model for TPDD. We have
so far. Students also undergo induction-cum-          implemented a host of need-based initiatives for
orientation training, which helps substantially       members of the disadvantaged communities.”
in allowing them to be absorbed into the                    Apart from educational and employability
workforce and be accepted into the mainstream         activities, the organisation has opened up
employment or livelihood eco-system.                  vocational training centres in the heart of the
      While some of these beneficiaries have          slum and resettlement colonies, providing
been hired by TPDD, most have got employed            entrepreneurial opportunities to girls and

 case study

              boys at their doorstep. Courses in stitching and       while this improves the possibility of including
              tailoring, beauticians’ training, mobile repairing,    SC and ST candidates, the suitability and
              computers and retail marketing have proved very        selection remains rigorous as each applicant is
              popular. This has led to the youth becoming more       adjudged by the selection committee.
              confident and has helped them gain employment                Going forward, TPDD plans to further scale
              and add to their family income.                        up the programme by evolving innovative models
                    TPDD has adopted the policy of positive          of development, especially for empowering the
              discrimination by transparently lowering the           women from the marginalised communities, and
              eligibility requirements for SC and ST candidates      creating greater livelihood opportunities within
              at induction levels. The company believes that         their ecosystem as well as outside. ¨

              TaTa conSulTancy ServiceS

              T    ata Consultancy Services (TCS) received the
                   best practices award for employability in the
              2011 affirmative action assessment cycle. It was
                                                                     regular recruitment process which is the norm for
                                                                     any new entrant in the company.
                                                                          TCS follows a conscious policy of no-
              also recognised for its training programme in          compromise in recruitment standards and hires
              English communication and a range of ‘soft’ skills     candidates based strictly on merit. This has
              required in the corporate world.                       ensured that all recruits can easily integrate with
                    The programme has benefitted several young       others in the company.
              people from disadvantaged communities; of the
              7,000 youths who have undergone this training          Tackling challengeS genTly
              since August 2010, 3,852 are from the scheduled        Overall, while the programme has been successful,
              caste and tribe communities.                           the company has had to face several challenges.
                    Developed by TCS, the 80- to 100-hour            The recruits joining the company through the
              training module targets unemployed graduates           training programme are generally from small
              and is intended to improve their English               towns and sometimes from very remote locations.
              communication skills, provide basic computer                 “One of the biggest challenges has been
              training, impart learning in corporate etiquette,      their reluctance to migrate to cities, even to the
              sharpen aptitudes and inculcate self-confidence.       nearest place where a TCS facility is located.
                    The training programme is highly interactive     The challenge is compounded when it comes
              and experiential, imparted through lectures, group     to women candidates,” explains Saraswati
              discussions, public speaking sessions, role-plays,     Padmanabhan, associate vice president, TCS.
              skits and so on. The trainees are regularly assessed         TCS has partly overcome this challenge
              and put through mock interviews to hone their          by meeting the families of the candidates to
              inter-personal skills.                                 address their concerns, often taking the help
                    In order to improve the effectiveness            of existing employees from that locality, and
              of candidates from remote locations, where             by providing and facilitating accommodation
              exposure to English is almost zero, it is              facilities for the candidates.
              proposed to introduce a pre-training session,                 TCS has focused on sensitising employees
              where they will be taught English through              to the need for affirmative action through
              stories they can relate to. The training               ‘town hall’ meets and orientation sessions.
              imparted is generic in nature so that it can           This has been of particular use for recruiters
              help the trainees in any job. Those joining TCS        and trainers. A large part of the success of the
              are generally placed in BPO data processes             affirmative action programme has been due
              across different locations in India.                   to the manifest ownership of the initiative by
                    The trained candidates are put through the       existing employees.

                                                                                                      case study

Trainees at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences with the interview panel

Kolkata trainees with the trainer

      In this initiative, TCS has partnered        to students from scheduled caste and tribe
with several government departments and            communities.
bodies dedicated to the development of the               The TCS employees’ fellowship body,
so-called ‘backward’ and scheduled castes and      TCS Maitree, has launched several social
tribes, district employment exchanges across       development initiatives, including one
India, universities and colleges, nonprofit        where employee volunteers teach tailoring
organisations as well as autonomous bodies         and bag-making to women from scheduled
like the Indian Railways that have focused         caste and tribe communities to help promote
affirmative action programmes.                     entrepreneurship skills and employability.
      TCS has also undertaken other                      TCS aims to positively impact the lives of
educational initiatives targeting marginalised     at least one million people (directly and / or
communities. This has mainly involved              indirectly) by 2015 through specially focused
providing financial and infrastructure support     affirmative action interventions. Based on
to educational institutions and financial as       social and business needs, such initiatives are
well as help in kind (books, uniforms, etc)        designed to be inherently sustainable. ¨


             In the right spirit
                                                           orporate India has great potential
                                                           to improve the overall business
                                                           climate in the country. Engaging
                                                           in social justice issues would help
                                              to correct the discrimination that sections of
                                              the Indian community have faced historically.
                                              Inclusive growth is the only way forward for
                                              a country like India where the divide between
                                              the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’ is enormous.
                                              The government, on its own, cannot address
                                              this issue. Increasingly, the private sector has
                                              become the dominant generator of employment
                                              and, hence, corporate entities must help create
                                              platforms for providing equal opportunities.
                                                    A strong foundation for sustainable
                                              growth comes from a socially just environment.
                                              Social inequality has the potential to adversely
                                              impact the business climate if not addressed in
                                              a sustained manner. Further, it makes business
                                              sense to pursue the affirmative action agenda.
             The Tata group’s affirmative     Employment, employee loyalty and interaction
                                              with local communities can help in creating a
             action initiative has come       conducive business environment.
             a long way in showing how              While inclusive growth is necessary
                                              for India, the affirmative action agenda
             corporate India can help
                                              must be nurtured carefully so that positive
             achieve social equity. Here,     discrimination is implemented in the right
             Raymond Bickson, MD and          spirit across all Tata companies. B Muthuraman,
                                              chairman, Group Affirmative Action Forum,
             CEO, Indian Hotels, shares his   and vice chairman, Tata Steel, recently sent a
             views about a range of issues    12-point checklist for CEOs to make certain
                                              that the programme initiatives are headed in the
             related to affirmative action    right direction. Along with the review system,
             within the Tata group.           this would help ensure that the programme


implementation is on track and that all Tata     Given the nature of our business, there
companies progress with equal speed. It
would also help in bringing about a cascading
                                                 is tremendous potential for providing
effect, garnering support for the affirmative    opportunities for entrepreneurs under the
action agenda down the line. It also helps to
                                                 affirmative action initiative, in which we
allocate company resources appropriately.
     The affirmative action agenda demands       could leverage DICCI.
the commitment of the top leaders of every
company… and requires it to be patently
evident. We have to find ways to exhibit         indian Hotels foCuses
such commitment both internally as well as       on tHe 4es
externally by reaching out proactively to the    In recent years, Indian Hotels has
masses. I would like to point out the examples   substantially helped improve the
of Anil Sardana (MD, Tata Power) and             employability and employment of people from
R Mukundan (MD, Tata Chemicals) who are          the marginalised communities. Given the
totally committed and dedicated to the cause.    nature of our business, there is tremendous
                                                 potential for providing opportunities for
Creating sustainable                             entrepreneurs under the affirmative action
platforms                                        initiative, in which we could leverage
To further inclusive growth, apart from          DICCI. Further, our hotels could support
generating employment in the private and         the education of students from marginalised
government sector, we also need more             communities resident in the vicinity of any of
entrepreneurs from the disadvantaged             the hotels. This would allow us to address and
groups. Today, a large portion of the work in    enhance our contribution to the first ‘E’ —
companies is either contracted or externally     that of education!
sourced. Making the outsourcing companies
see the multiple benefits of partnering in       from initiatives to strategiC
the affirmative action agenda is the key to      moves
the success of this programme. This must,        We have made the right beginning within
however, be done in a phased manner.             the Tata companies. The initiative has
     The Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce        picked up speed in recent years, involving
and Industry (DICCI) has mobilised               the Confederation of Indian Industry, with
tremendous opportunities for Dalit               DICCI giving further impetus.
entrepreneurs by providing a platform for             However, there is a lot more to be
information and interaction.                     done to make this successful. Leveraging
     Such platforms facilitate affirmative       the strengths of Tata companies through
action initiatives by large corporations that    partnerships would reinforce the agenda
may be looking to contract or outsource          and make affirmative action a cultural
product and service requirements for their       norm within the group.
businesses. They could consider DICCI-                Another important step would be
registered members for any requirements          information-sharing and creating awareness
without compromising on quality and merit        of affirmative action activities within the
before looking for options in the open           Tata companies.
market. DICCI, for its part, can play a               The actions already taken are setting
proactive role in constantly seeking and         us on the path to make the essential move from
registering members and enhancing their          an ‘initiative’ approach to a ‘strategic’ approach,
capabilities to ensure they can offer a large    and helping us to successfully continue our
gamut of products and services.                  journey in the right direction. ¨


             The virtuous cycle of
             positive discrimination
                                            On the private sectOr’s rOle
                                            It is commonly held that social justice is
                                            the government’s responsibility. However,
                                            as industry is the main driver of the Indian
                                            economy post liberalisation, corporate
                                            India should engage with social justice
                                            initiatives like affirmative action. Businesses
                                            cannot thrive unless the society around is
                                            prosperous. Social and economic justice
                                            is at the core of industry’s sustainability.
                                            Affirmative action takes forward the
                                            industry’s role in responsible corporate
                                                  At the heart of the affirmative action
                                            initiative is the empowerment of the socially
                                            disadvantaged to have a fair share of the
                                            fruits of economic growth and move the
                                            debate to building merit and social justice.
                                            This voluntary process of affirmative
                                            action in entrepreneurship, employment,
             R Mukundan, MD, Tata           employability and education needs even
                                            greater attention going forward.
             Chemicals, talks about
             how the Tata Affirmative       On pOsitive discriminatiOn
                                            Existing social injustice has historical roots,
             Action Programme is
                                            at the heart of which is a hierarchical caste
             being implemented at Tata      system. To break that structure, we need to
                                            exercise positive discrimination. Positive
             Chemicals and the challenges
                                            discrimination can work for the community
             confronting the effort.        and for the company if it’s undertaken with


the aim of bolstering opportunities for           One of the new initiatives planned is to
disadvantaged groups and addressing social
                                                  integrate the affirmative action agenda with
                                                  barefoot agronomics services... another
On stakehOlders’ rOles
                                                  plan is to take up advocacy... with external
All stakeholders need to provide
equal opportunities to economically-              stakeholders.
challenged sections. The economic
challenges faced by scheduled caste and
tribe communities are often due to our            On new initiatives
traditional caste-based systems. We need          One of the new initiatives planned is to
to undertake steps not only to educate            integrate the affirmative action agenda with
and improve the employability of such             barefoot agronomics services, which is built
marginalised communities, but also to             around skill development. We also plan to
generate employment and encourage                 develop the Dalit vendor database at Tata
entrepreneurship among them.                      Chemicals, with inputs from all purchase
                                                  heads and DICCI. Another plan is to take up
On prOmOting dalit                                advocacy for affirmative action with external
entrepreneurs                                     stakeholders — community leaders, nonprofit
The Dalit Indian Chamber of Commerce              forums, government and panchayat bodies,
and Industry (DICCI) is a very active body        and business forums.
representing Dalit entrepreneurs. The
Tata group has been actively involved in          On achievements
promoting DICCI initiatives. But the time         Progress in increased awareness about the
has come for us to set some voluntary targets     importance of the affirmative action agenda
within the group. The notions of swaraj           has been good; there is a steering committee
(self-government), sarvodaya (progress for        for affirmative action and there are champions
all) and antyodaya (uplift of the poorest of      for the programme at every location.
the poor) can be seen as entrepreneurial          The leadership at all levels is involved in
paths to inclusive growth.                        structured reviews of the initiative. We have
                                                  integrated the affirmative action agenda with
On the 4es                                        our corporate social responsibility work; we
At Tata Chemicals, we have focused on             even have a separate budget for implementing
three of the 4Es — education, employability       the programme.
and entrepreneurship — leading to the                  The next step would be to integrate the
fourth ‘E’, employment. Our education             affirmative action agenda with our growth
initiative, Shiksha Maitreyi, focuses on          strategy, undertake related advocacy and
education for girls. Our employability            institute specific qualitative and quantitative
initiative, Badhte Kadam, aims mainly to          metrics to measure the impact.
enhance the employability of youths and
women among the disadvantaged.                    On the rOle Of leadership
     In encouraging rural entrepreneurship,       The CEO and leadership have a central
we started the Udaan Entrepreneurship             role in building the initial commitment
Development Programme, which provides             on affirmative action and over a period of
business training, technical assistance, market   time building ‘a culture of caring’ in the
linkages and loan linkages with financial         organisation. The affirmative action agenda —
institutions to young entrepreneurs from the      or positive discrimination — is at the heart of
scheduled castes and tribes.                      being a ‘company that cares.’ ¨


             Addressing social
             justice issues
             Going beyond the mandate
             and doing more than what is
             expected has been a proud
             Tata tradition, says Tata
             Power MD Anil Sardana,
             adding that the affirmative
             action agenda will succeed
             only if the top leadership in
             Tata companies aggressively
             espouses the cause for
             inclusive growth not because
             of any government diktat but
             because of the ideal.

             Why must Indian companies engage
             with social justice issues like
             affirmative action for the scheduled
             caste and tribe communities? Isn’t               outsource the issue to government. This is
             that the government’s job?                       becoming increasingly important in light of
             Social and economic inequality is clearly one    the fact that employment opportunities in the
             of the major threats to sustained economic       government sector are coming under pressure
             growth. If Indian industry and businesses have   and it is the private sector that is driving the
             to flourish, we need an environment that has     country’s growth agenda.
             equilibrium and inclusivity. Indian industry          As with all important causes, any effort
             must take ownership for this and not look to     in this space will be successful only if business


leaders wholeheartedly espouse this cause,          This indirectly generated employment makes
not out of fear of government diktats, but          it all the more important that Tata companies
by recognising and supporting the ideal of          actively work to sensitise their own employees
inclusive growth, as this is at the very heart of   as well as all third party vendors and contractors
what our country and, indeed, the Tata group        that have their own workforce. This can create
stands for. Going beyond mandates and doing         a powerful momentum by creating sustainable
more than what is expected has long been a          livelihoods and leading to a virtuous cycle.
proud Tata tradition.
                                                    One of the greater challenges
The group’s affirmative action                      for affirmative action is to create
policy commits Tata companies to                    Dalit entrepreneurs. Apart from
extending positive discrimination                   partnership with DICCI, what other
to scheduled caste and tribe                        steps would you suggest?
communities in employment and                       DICCI has been helpful with regard to mapping
entrepreneurial partnerships.                       the needs of companies through measures
Can this work equally for the                       such as the database of entrepreneurs who can
communities and the companies?                      partner with companies in specific areas.
The very fact that Tata companies                        It would greatly enhance the effectiveness
have committed themselves to positive               of these efforts if Tata group companies were
discrimination — ie, preference for members         to collaborate and jointly award contracts,
of disadvantaged communities, provided merit        which can be taken up by these entrepreneurs.
and other things remain equal — means it’s          For example, companies located in close
a win-win situation for both the companies          geographical proximity may pool their printing
as well as the community members. The               and stationery requirements and award a
companies can be assured that they are not          contract to a single DICCI entrepreneur. In this,
diluting their standards in any manner while the    there is even a possibility of helping a willing
disadvantaged community members can hold            individual become an entrepreneur by investing
their heads high as they have got opportunities     some seed capital. More such avenues need to be
not on sympathy but their own merit.                explored and pursued proactively.
                                                         Besides this, there are several other
Recently, B Muthuraman, chairman                    opportunities to support young people from
of the Group Affirmative Action                     scheduled caste and tribe communities by
Forum, sent a 12-point checklist for                supporting initiatives they may take up — such
CEOs on steps they could take to                    as running telephone booths, auto-rickshaws,
further the agenda in the immediate                 shops or retail outlets, service workshops, etc.
future. Has the checklist helped?
The checklist has definitely helped in terms of     Which of the 4Es does your company
clearly defining how CEOs can aggressively push     prioritise? What are the new
forward the agenda for affirmative action. While    initiatives planned?
we have been actively working along these lines,    We are actively working on all 4Es. We have
the checklist gives more concrete direction to      a number of initiatives in each ‘E’, but two
the efforts.                                        initiatives of note are focused on education
                                                    and employment — an education initiative
With many Tata companies                            undertaken in collaboration with the nonprofit
outsourcing processes, how                          Pratham and the rural BPO started in Khopoli
necessary and feasible is it to                     in partnership with Mannat Foundation.
persuade outside companies to adopt                       The Pratham initiative was started as an
the agenda for affirmative action?                  experiment in Alibag in Maharashtra in 2008,


                                                                     for over five years now. How good is
     It would greatly enhance the effectiveness                      the progress and what are the three
     of the affirmative action efforts if group                      steps you would like Tata companies
                                                                     to take in the next year?
     companies were to collaborate... such
                                                                     I think a good start has been made on this
     avenues need to be explored and pursued                         agenda. Over the past five years, starting from
     proactively.                                                    the adoption of the Tata Group Affirmative
                                                                     Action Policy in 2007, awareness of the
                                                                     affirmative action agenda has steadily increased
                covering 149 local children belonging to the         and we are now seeing participation from an
                ‘Other Backward Caste’ (OBC) communities.            increasing number of companies in the group’s
                On positive response from the local community,       overall efforts. The annual affirmative action
                it was decided to replicate this effort in Maithon   assessment exercise, as well as recognition of
                in Jharkhand, but with a distinct focus on           top-performing companies, has also helped
                affirmative action.                                  in this regard.
                      Started in May 2009, the Maithon project             The three steps that I would personally
                aims to improve the learning levels of children      like to see Tata companies take in the next year
                in the 6-14 age group (classes 1-5) in basic         would be to:
                maths and languages; started in 100 villages,        l	  Take up at least one major affirmative
                the project has been scaled up to cover the              action initiative in each of the 4Es and do a
                entire district. The further goal is to provide          deep-dive into every aspect of the initiative
                subject-wise academic support to children in             in order to obtain substantial, tangible
                classes 5-7.                                             benefits from each; make these benchmark
                      Local government schools have been                 programmes, setting standards not only
                targeted as the poorest of the children, a               within the group but also for Indian industry.
                significant chunk of who are from scheduled          l	  Establish group-level synergies across supply
                caste and tribe communities, attend these                chain and vendor development.
                schools. The Maithon project also involved           l	  Adopt at least one school catering to the
                training of teachers. In this, too, preference was       marginalised communities.
                given to candidates from scheduled caste and
                tribe communities.                                   Finally, for the affirmative action
                      The partnership with Pratham has now           movement to become stronger, how
                been successfully expanded to projects in            important is it for the top leadership
                Odisha and Tiruldih in Jharkhand.                    to be visibly committed?
                      Tata Power is also looking to partner with     In order to generate the requisite buy-in as
                the National Institute of Open Schooling, set        well as build awareness of the affirmative
                up by the Union Ministry of Human Resource           action agenda, it is imperative for the CEO
                Development, to offer distance and open              and top leadership in all companies to lead
                learning courses with a special focus on students    from the front. It would be very difficult to
                from tribal communities.                             convince various stakeholders on this issue
                      We are also exploring an entrepreneurship      — which is of prime importance but also
                scheme wherein a group of women from tribal          complicated and complex on account of the
                communities near our Jojobera operations site        various sensitivities involved — without the
                will be engaged to manufacture bricks out of the     implicit and explicit advocacy of the CEO and
                fly-ash which is produced from the plant.            top leadership. It is this commitment that will
                                                                     ensure that all stakeholders get aligned to the
                The group has been engaged with                      individual company’s goals as well as the overall
                the affirmative action programme                     group agenda. ¨


Breaking caste
                                 What are your responsibilities as
                                 a visible spokesman for the Dalit
                                 As a weekly columnist, I have the rare privilege of
                                 having a platform for my opinions. But it saddens
                                 me that the mainstream media gives space for
                                 only one voice from among more than 161 million
                                 Dalits. The mainstream media should not be
                                 fearful of opinions of the ‘other’.
                                      Truly speaking, I am not an authorised
                                 spokesperson for the community. I am not elected
                                 to represent Dalits. In the Dalit intellectual world,
                                 my voice is in a minority. Most Dalit thought
                                 leaders, politicians and activists want legislation
                                 to enforce affirmative action on India Inc. I have
                                 been talking of persuasion and partnerships. To
                                 me, what is good for Dalits and Adivasis ought to
Chandrabhan Prasad,              be good for India Inc as well.

social anthropologist and        What, in your opinion, are the
commentator on caste in India,   challenges before Dalits today?
                                 Segregation and stereotypes are the two
pens the only column on Dalit
                                 biggest challenges Dalits face today. Dalits
matters in a national English    are not visible on Dalal Street because of
daily. Here, he talks about      historical reasons. By tradition, Dalits were
                                 forbidden from money-making. Not that
what it means to be a Dalit      today’s India Inc practises discrimination
in India and how capitalism      as a business policy. It’s just that there exists
                                 a social disconnect between Dalits and the
can help break the caste         mainstream of society — which includes
conundrum.                       India Inc — and that disconnect can be


             ended by India Inc only. Dalits always seek            accomplishing that historic task.
             desegregation.                                              Yes, the Tata group can walk a few steps
                  Stereotyping is really terrible. When we          more… as they have in the past. A raja of Baroda
             talk of bringing Dalits and Adivasis into the          expressed his faith in a young BR Ambedkar
             supply or vendor chains of companies, almost           and gave him a scholarship to study abroad;
             instantly, the response is questions about quality,    Ambedkar proved him right. The Tata group gave
             price, delivery schedules, etc. Such responses         a scholarship to a young KR Narayanan and was
             are full of assumptions. Dalit entrepreneurs           also proved right in its faith.
             are seen in certain ways. Even when we talk of              Some Tata companies are working with
             employability, for example, the focus is on ‘skill     Dalit entrepreneurs as part of their vendor
             development’. This too is suggestive.                  extension programme. If this can be further
                                                                    extended to setting up joint ventures with Dalit
             What is your advice to the Dalit                       entrepreneurs, it will ink a new history for India.
             community on the links between                              The Tatas today have historic opportunities
             economic and social equality?                          in expanding the social characteristics of Indian
             Let me put it this way: So long as social markers      capitalism. Without Dalit capitalism, Indian
             are the determinants for quality of existence,         capitalism will always be seen with suspicion.
             Dalits can never claim social equality. Social
             markers are fixed by birth and, hence, social          What are the socio-economic
             rank is non-negotiable. But when economic              changes currently taking place
             markers replace social markers — as has been           within the community?
             hinted at post the 1991 economic reforms —             We conducted two studies for the Center for
             social rank can be negotiated.                         the Advanced Study of India, University of
                  My advice to the community is: Enter              Pennsylvania, United States. One was a survey of
             money-making with a vengeance.                         20,000 Dalit households in Uttar Pradesh (UP),
                                                                    India, covering a complete census of two blocks
             You once said that affirmative action                  — Bilariaganj block in Azamgarh district in
             can only advance a few Dalits. Can                     eastern UP, and Khurja block in Bulandshahar
             any other initiative be more effective                 district in western UP. In both blocks we
             in fostering social change?                            covered all the Dalit households.
             Let’s be clear — if the Indian State could not               We asked around 80 questions on
             touch and transform all Dalits in the past six         changing food habits, lifestyles, occupations,
             decades, India Inc too cannot. All affirmative         etc, for the period from 1990 to 2007. Our
             action initiatives can, at best, help create a Dalit   findings were that several caste-propelled
             middle class. The world over, the middle classes       hierarchies are breaking down. The trigger
             turn role models to the ‘under’ classes. Dalits        has mainly been the migration to industrial
             can’t be an exception. India Inc can help extend       centres and the remittances to families back
             the Dalit middle class.                                home — this has been on a significant scale
                                                                    thanks to the economic expansion following
             What are your expectations from                        the liberalisation reforms.
             the Tata group’s affirmative action                          Subsequently, we have been working on
             programme and from India Inc?                          a book on the same subject. The study caught
             European serfdom was destroyed by European             the attention of a large number of social
             capitalism. The world over, feudalism                  commentators both in India and abroad,
             was destroyed by capitalism. In India too,             including Nobel Laureate Prof Gary Becker and
             capitalism-industrialisation-urbanisation will         Nobel Prize nominee Prof Jagdish Bhagawati.
             destroy the caste order. The Tatas, as one of the            The second survey, still ongoing, is on Dalit
             triggers of industrialisation in India, are already    enterprises, focusing on their performance. ¨


Dalit capitalism for
social balance
It was on April 14, 2005,
the birth anniversary of
Dr BR Ambedkar — whom the
Dalits lovingly and respectfully
call ‘Baba Saheb’ — that
the Dalit Indian Chamber of
Commerce & Industry (DICCI)
was founded. Established
to help build the spirit of
entrepreneurship among
young Dalits, DICCI is
involved in providing business
opportunities and empowering
its members through
knowledge and information
exchange. Milind Kamble,           What was the reason for the genesis
DICCI chairman, explains the       of DICCI? With the establishment of
                                   DICCI, what is the message sent out
rationale for DICCI and its
                                   to the Dalit community?
expectations from the Tata         Dalits are leaders in most areas of public life
group’s affirmative action         — political, social and religious. Dalit students
                                   in colleges and universities have their own
programme as also from             organisations as do Dalit employees and officers.
India Inc.                              Before setting up DICCI, I had long


             wondered why there were limited business                for a Dalit entrepreneur to begin his
             initiatives by Dalits. This led to another              or her own business today?
             question: Are there any Dalit businesses at             This slogan — ‘Be job givers and not job seekers’
             all? Impulsively, I began looking around Pune           was an instant hit. It is an attractive maxim for
             city and found a few; I also found a few in             those Dalits who are determined to bring about
             Aurangabad and Mumbai.                                  change. With a gentle push from DICCI, a great
                   By 2005, I had enough reason to believe           number of Dalits can begin to believe that there
             that Dalit entrepreneurs would benefit from a           are people to support attempts to allow Dalit
             dedicated business body. Thus, DICCI was born.          enterprise to bloom.
             It began with the sole purpose of developing
             business leadership among Dalits. Now we have an        In what ways will true social equality
             all-India presence. DICCI’s efforts are bearing fruit   in India be impacted by greater
             across cities and across states. DICCI chapters are     economic equality?
             opening and Dalits have begun believing that “we        Economic equality comes with equal opportunity.
             too” can succeed. The DICCI headquarters at Pune        Equal opportunity comes when we have a more
             gets dozens of entrepreneurship-related queries         equitable society. The market can be a greater
             from Dalit youths each day.                             leveller. At DICCI, we think that in a market-
                                                                     based economy, people think of life as it is in their
             What will be the impact of Dalit                        own lifetime. In a non-market economy, whether
             capitalism on the existing caste                        it is a feudal economic or a socialist or welfare
             discrimination in India?                                economy, people think of life after death — where
             The institution of caste evolved in a given social      will their place be, in hell or heaven!
             framework, which was rural and primitive,                      In a market-based economy, hell or heaven
             and in a barter-based economy. In such a                exists within people’s own lifetimes and, hence,
             social context, the caste order evolved and             the chase for money begins in that lifetime. In
             discrimination thrived.                                 that chase, people may even change their caste
                   With modernisation and urbanisation, the          status if that helps earn more money. This is one
             caste system underwent changes and brutalities          way of creating social equality.
             became cloaked in civility. It is not a coincidence
             that the first historically documented triumph of       What are your expectations from the
             Dalits occurred in a city setting — when the 15th       affirmative action programme of the
             century Dalit saint Ravidas defeated Brahmin            Tata group companies?
             pundits of Kashi in a shastrarth (debate on state       Since independence, India has extended patronage
             craft). But, for the most part of its documented        to Dalits. That might have been the need of the time.
             history, India’s social structure has been ordered      But how long can that continue? Six decades have
             by caste and religious diktats. As India turns          passed since independence… another four decades
             more urban, industrial and capitalistic, the caste      will make it a century.
             order will lose its hold.                                     The Tata group can trigger a new dawn of
                   We at DICCI believe that capitalism is not        partnership with Dalits. This is not to say that any
             just about money-making as it also produces             Dalit entrepreneurs are big enough — either in
             a more democratic social order — and a new              business volumes or operational size — to claim
             culture. But, without Dalit capitalism, Indian          equal partnership with the Tatas. All the Dalit
             capitalism will deny the democratic elements            entrepreneurs put together cannot compare in
             and refuse social balance and equity.                   size to the smallest of the Tata group companies.
                                                                     But, the smallest plant in the Himalayas are as
             The slogan ‘Be job givers, not job                      important as the most dense forests there. That’s
             seekers’ has resonated with the Dalit                   our expectations from the Tatas — that we are
             community. How easy or difficult is it                  equal in coexistence. ¨


To top