Published on May 10, 2022
The 2022 edition saw the coming together of Tata business leaders who deliberated ways and means to accelerate affirmative action
The 2022 edition of Tata Affirmative Action Programme (TAAP) Convention, held on June 8, succeeded in renewing and reiterating the Tata Group’s commitment to empower India’s historically disadvantaged and marginalised communities through affirmative action (AA). The event was held at the Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai.
An annual event, the TAAP Convention could not be organised due to the Covid pandemic and restrictions on physical events imposed in its wake. The last TAAP conference was held in 2019.
True to its history, the TAAP convention saw the coming together of CEOs, head of CSR, procurement and HR and other business leaders from various Tata companies who deliberated ways and means to accelerate affirmative action. N Chandrasekaran, Chairman, Tata Sons, was among the notables who attended.
The convention began with the address by S Padmanabhan, Chairman - Governing Council, Tata Business Excellence Group, who emphasised the need and relevance of AA programmes in the post-Covid world. The pandemic had disrupted lives of the marginalised communities and there was a need for Tata companies to intensify AA efforts, he said. Mr Padmanabhan announced that TAAP beneficiary categories were being extended to include women from marginalised communities and people with disabilities.
Dr RA Mashelkar, chairman, governing council, TAAP, who followed, spoke about driving affirmative action by democratising digital access. “There can’t be any hesitancy in the digitalisation of our schools and systems,” he said.
Dr Anil Rajvanshi, director, Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), who took the stage next, provided a detailed account of his organisation’s efforts to transform India’s rural landscape. Based in Phaltan, Maharashtra, the non-profit aims to leverage science and technology for sustainable change. Dr Rajvanshi suggested setting up a crop of Tata Fellows to drive change in rural areas, the need for low-cost farming technologies and taking the indigenisation route to develop capabilities.
Mr Chandrasekaran, in his address, stressed the need for intensifying AA efforts. He expressed concern about the reducing number of women in the workforce and the challenges that people from India’s marginalised communities have to continually face. He pointed out the need to bring change at scale by providing access and leveraging opportunities. He urged Tata companies to participate in the TAAP Assessment.
Taking the stage next, Abraham Stephanos, MD, Tata Steel Downstream Products Ltd (TSDPL), spoke about the TSDPL’s TAAP journey and the need to root out biases and bring about change through AA.
Avijit Mitra, CEO at Croma, Infiniti Retail Ltd, who followed, spoke about how Croma embarked on the TAAP journey through the Facilitation engagement. He shared his company’s success in driving AA by sharing the fact that two Croma outlets, one in Mumbai and another in Bengaluru, are being run completely by women.
The post-lunch session saw three interactive sessions. While Ms Jyoti Bansal, Chief Branding, Communications, CSR, Sustainability, Tata Power, and Ms Foram Nagori Head - CSR Head, Tata Power spoke about how women can be agents of change; Sourav Roy, CEO Tata Steel Foundation & Chief CSR, Tata Steel, introduced the audience to Samvaad - A Tribal Conclave, an initiative organised by the Tata Steel Foundation that seeks to revive, preserve and promote tribal culture. Curtains came down with a panel discussion on encouraging entrepreneurship among underserved communities. The panel included Ms Malabika Chatterjee - Chief Procurement Supplier Management & Process Improvement from Tata Steel, Mr H C Sharma - Chief BD, Contracts, Stores and Technical services from TPDDL, Manprit Shrivastava - Procurement, Diversity Officer from ISWP. The session was moderated by Mr K R Venkatadri - Chief Commercial officer, Tata Chemicals Limited.
Recognition for affirmative action initiatives
The high point of the event was the felicitation of the Tata companies for their AA work.
The TAAP Adoption Award for first time assesses went to Infinity Retail Ltd. and TM International Logistics Ltd. The Significant Adoption Award was presented to Tata Metaliks (FY21) and The Indian Steel & Wire Products Ltd (FY22). The TAAP Jury Award was won by Tata Chemicals and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd for FY21, and Tata Motors (FY22).
The Tata companies, which had earned more than 60 points out of 100 points in the TAAP Assessment for their initiatives under the 5 Es – employment, employability, entrepreneurship, education and essential enablers, were also honoured with the TAAP Best in class Awards for the individual E’s. While The Indian Steel & Wire Products Ltd, Tata Communications and Tata Steel Utilities and Infrastructure Services Ltd received the award for education-focused programmes, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd was bestowed the honour for efforts in employability and education and Tata Metaliks was honoured for its efforts in Essential enablers and Education
Tata companies were also recognised for their innovative and impactful AA programmes. Tata Consultancy Services (Bridge IT Programme), Titan (Tribal ITI support), Tata Motors (Integrated Village Development Programme), Tata Steel Downstream Products Ltd (improving online learning), mJunction (digital and skill development initiatives), Tata Steel (Samvaad), Tata Power (financial inclusion awareness programmes), Tata Communications (Lakhpati Kisan Initiative), Tata Capital (Green Switch Programme), Tata Steel Utilities and Infrastructure Services Ltd (JUSCO Super 20 initiative), Tata Consumer Products Ltd (Shrishti initiative) and Tata Projects (All women Construction project).
TAAP assessors and facilitators were also felicitated for their outstanding work on the occasion.