We Have Touched Over 7.9 Lakh Lives Over The Past Year Through Our CSR Initiatives

Read this exclusive interview S J R Kutty, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head-Vehicle Attributes & Technical Services, Tata Motors


Global automobile manufacturer Tata Motors Limited acknowledges its roots and tirelessly works to address the needs and aspirations of the community, pushing others onwards to development. The group has a six-pronged CSR strategy that attends to the societal needs starting from pre-natal care to education, and serves across the spectrum – helping with high-school level courses to professional ones, leading to employability and employment.

We recently spoke to S J R Kutty, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head-Vehicle Attributes & Technical Services, Tata Motors about their CSR initiatives and more.

What kind of CSR activities do you focus on at Tata Motors?

Over the years, Tata Motors has built a strong and valued reputation for caring for the communities it operates around. Community empowerment has been pivotal focus areas for us since our very inception. We have strived to build a holistic CSR mandate that reaps a positive impact across all major arenas of importance for sustainable social development. Broadly speaking, there are four verticals we cater to through our numerous programmes — Aarogya (Health), Vidyadhanam (Education), Kaushalya (Employability) and Vasundhara (Environment). Additionally, initiatives like Amrutdhara (for water security) and Aadhar (for equitable access to socio-economically backward groups) strive to supplement the programmes under our larger verticals.

We follow a human life cycle approach to leverage the interlinkages within our verticals to touch the entire life span of each beneficiary— right from promoting healthcare and nutrition in infants, fostering education among the young, building employability and excellence to build fulfilling livelihoods, and promoting sustainability as a core ethic of holistic development. We also place significant emphasis on strengthening rural India, and our initiatives accordingly endeavour to cultivate self-sufficiency within Indian villages, promoting employability and entrepreneurship in men and women while raising social awareness.

Skill development has also been a considerably important focus area for us. Tata Motors’ widespread network of business partners and industry professionals, comprising dealers and service centers, provide it with a strong backing to deliver the benefits of the employability initiatives we undertake. The necessity of bridging the gap between education and industry is something the company has always emphasized. Our CSR processes and programmes, accordingly are built to utilize its stakeholder networks and technological access to provide valuable, long-lasting and industry-relevant skills to the youth of the country.

What is the best way to build brand impact using CSR channels?

Businesses can no longer continue to operate with the only objective of increasing profits at the expense of the environment, society, economy, customers, and employees. As a responsible corporate citizen, Tata Motors has consistently made comprehensive efforts to enhance sustainable development, enrich the lives of the underprivileged, mitigate social inequalities and contribute to the process of nation building.

Our deep commitment to making meaningful, impactful interventions, along with the brand promise of “Connecting Aspirations”, has shaped our CSR journey, and helped us win appreciation from communities across the country.

We have extended our programmes to achieve a pan-India reach through a variety of initiatives, bringing together the collective capabilities of all relevant stakeholders, including collaborations with governments, local authorities,

implementation partners, and the beneficiaries themselves, to make them sustainable, replicable, agile, and future-ready across all geographies. The simple philosophy of “more from less for more” has guided a set of our CSR initiatives, leveraging the existing business linkages we have to contribute and partner in CSR deployment. This transparency has not only helped us strengthen trust amongst our stakeholders, but also deliver a profound impact to beneficiaries by leaning on the automotive ecosystem.

Tell us about some impact stories that have been the result of your CSR activities.

We have touched over 7.9 lakh lives over the past year through the various initiatives under each of our pillars. Committing ourselves to the battle against COVID-19, we deployed 11 customized and fully-equipped mobile vaccination vans to administer vaccines at the doorsteps of people residing in remote regions of the country. Over 80,000 individuals across nearly 250 villages and 6 districts were vaccinated, of which 45% were women from socially marginalised sections.

In an effort to combat the digital divide and expand equitable access to quality education, we executed the ENABLE (Engineering and NEET Admission Bridge Accelerated Learning Engagement) initiative – a digitally-powered JEE/NEET coaching programme for talented 11th and 12th standard students across 600 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) in the country. While our JEE/NEET coaching has a history tracking back to 2013, ENABLE was particularly envisaged to deal with the onset of COVID-19 and the necessity of transitioning into a digitally-enabled mode of learning.

ENABLE today is touching the lives of over 20,000 students across the country, providing them with access to top-quality mentors and technologically empowered learning tools. One of our notable success stories is that of Deepak and Krishnanshu, both sons of single parents hailing from underprivileged families in U.P and Rajasthan respectively, who persevered earnestly to fulfill their dreams, assisted by the quality coaching and mentorship afforded by our programme. Deepak achieved the unimaginable score of 715/720 in NEET 2020, securing an All India Rank (AIR) of #5, while Krishnanshu cracked a remarkable score of 705/720 in NEET 2020 and an All India Rank (AIR) of #53.

Graduates from this programme have been consistently placed in the top 500 on the IIT Joint Entrance examination list and have won full-time scholarships at the premier colleges in the world. In AY 21-22, 26% of our students cleared JEE Advanced; 70% of these qualifying students scored a rank of 10,000 and above. Of the students who cleared JEE Advanced 38% made it into IITs, and the others qualified for NIITs and other premier engineering institutes. Similarly, for NEET, 12 per cent of the qualifying students made it to the top 10 medical institutes.

Another noteworthy CSR initiative we have undertaken is in the form of a holistic village upliftment programme- the Wadi model, implemented in Jawahar, Palghar, with impressively impactful results. This was executed to address challenges faced by tribal communities due to their overdependence on traditional rainfed farming. Through the Wadi model, we actively solved challenges such as low returns from farming, depleting traditional resources and economic vulnerability. We strategized to help conserve the environment while promoting the building of sustainable livelihoods in the village, through the cultivation of fruit and forestry trees, and suitable intercrops to improve soil fertility. Since the start of the programme, 7,77,000 trees have been planted with 3871 farmers in Jawahar, while 1025 acres (265 hectares) of soil has been conserved. In the next 5 years, an increase of Rs. 60,000 in the annual income of farmers is expected. Tata Motors is committed to continue a similar engagement in coming years in convergence with the MGNREGS department of the government.

Another marquee initiative is our Integrated Village Development Programme (IVDP), run in partnership with the district administration of the government of Maharashtra and the BAIF Institute of Sustainable Development, with an objective of creating a replicable model of a self-sustaining Gram Panchayat/s through leveraging the scale and machinery of government, speed and manageria, competence of corporate and ownership, and governance of citizens. This collaborative project was initiated in the year 2018 to address issues such as lack of sustainable livelihood opportunities, water scarcity, low agricultural productivity, malnutrition, lack of access to basic medical services, and limited access to higher education faced by the community in the Jawhar tribal block of Palghar District of Maharashtra. Over the last four years in Jawhar, while Tata Motors has invested an amount of Rs 3.29 Cr, the government convergence has been of Rs 10

Cr. Through our efforts, around 1,050 lakh litres of water capacity has been enhanced, making 90 per cent water available throughout the year in our target geographies. 157 hectares of waste land is now made cultivable, increasing 61% of farmers' income. This has further resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in migration.

Are there any new programs lined up as part of your CSR initiatives?

In its commitment to the well-being of society and the environment, Tata Motors has consistently striven to provide an engaged approach to community development with an aim of improving the quality of life of vulnerable communities, accelerating the sustainable development of society, and making the world a better place both now and for future generations.

We have some significant efforts lined up for the future, such as the Skilling Lab initiative, which aims to provide hands-on automotive skills to the students of secondary and senior secondary standards through in-house automotive skill labs in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs). Therefore, producing skilled manpower for automotive industry as envisioned in National Education Policy 2020.

Another project planned is Mission 100 Amrit Sarovar, where we have pledged to develop 100 Amrit Sarovars under the government’s scheme in the districts of Palghar, Thane, Sangli, Kolhapur and Pune. These Sarovars will provide water in water-stressed areas by either reviving the existing water bodies or by de-silting, deepening, or related construction, and developing new water bodies, wells, or community water bodies under the Amrit Sarovar initiative.

With careful planning and optimal use of our financial and human resources, we will continue to increase the impact and achievements of our CSR programmes and initiatives.

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