Advertisement
Thursday, Sep 29, 2022
Outlook.com
Outlook.com

Tata Steel: How The Company Exhibits Indomitable Spirit During Covid

As the second wave of COVID-19 ravaged the country, stealing people of their loved ones and hope, several superheroes emerged from ordinary citizens as well as big corporations to help the country grapple with the unprecedented crisis. We bring you the story of how Tata Steel showed others that business and benevolence can well go hand-in-hand.

Tata Steel: How The Company Exhibits Indomitable Spirit During Covid
Tata Steel: How The Company Exhibits Indomitable Spirit During Covid
outlookindia.com
2021-12-12T09:01:15+05:30

“The pandemic was a time to recalibrate at a personal and professional level. For us, it was an added responsibility to take care of our employees and the communities who rely on us,” TV Narendran, CEO and MD, Tata Steel, tells Outlook Business. Under his guidance, the company revealed its heart of gold during the gravest crisis faced by humanity.

As economic activity stuttered under Covid-19, Narendran not only steered the company through it but also managed to uphold the humanitarian principles that the Tata Group is widely associated with.

In May 2021, Tata Steel announced that it would continue to pay salary, medical and housing benefits to the families of its workers who lost their lives to Covid-19 until what would have been the workers’ age of retirement. The company also pledged to bear the cost of education of the children of its deceased front-line workers till they graduate.

Standing by its work[1]ers’ families at a time when they would have been hit by the double whammy of losing their family members and their earnings, too, is characteristic of an organisation with a heart and soul.

Tata Steel, however, is not just about heart and soul. The technical and innovative prowess of the company also came into play along with its humanitarian initiatives. The company’s brand Nest-in, along with its tube division and its new materials business, manufactured innovative quarantine units for the first time in India by using steel along with fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP).

With design specifications and inputs from Tata Projects and Tata Consulting Engineers, Tata Steel supplied a range of modular prefabricated Completely Built Units (CBUs) to be used primarily as quarantine and isolation cabins, restrooms, canteens and other service units within the hospitals.

Nest-In also innovated a swab collection unit that was designed to enable contactless sample collection in order to ensure the safety of the health workers involved in swab collection and testing for Covid-19.

Narendran reveals the Tata Steel way of doing business—doing the right thing and leveraging professional expertise to help the country manage a crisis where humanitarian needs trump business and the boundaries of corporate social responsibility. 2021 was a year that was marked by the deep troughs of medical despair and sharp peaks of euphoria of an economy that seems to be bouncing back.

Upon being asked to share the leadership lessons that he learned and implemented this year, Narendran says that the Board never hesitated to prioritise humanitarian needs over the needs of the business. At the same time, they always ensured that there were no unnecessary or wasteful expenditures.

“As a business, we did keep an eye on the cost of our social initiatives but the cost was just data, never a driver of decisions,” he adds. Narendran harps on the importance of recognising that a corporation should have the conscience to do the right thing at the time of a crisis but also be pragmatic to recognise that the says that the Board never hesitated to prioritise humanitarian needs over the needs of the business.

At the same time, they always ensured that there were no unnecessary or wasteful expenditures. “As a business, we did keep an eye on the cost of our social initiatives but the cost was just data, never a driver of decisions,” he adds.

Narendran harps on the importance of recognising that a corporation should have the conscience to do the right thing at the time of a crisis but also be pragmatic to recognise that the about 61,000 tonnes of liquid oxygen to support the government when the nation was facing a grave paucity of the element that sustains life.

The company had also installed an 80-bed Covid Care Centre in Jharkhand’s Bokaro and ran multiple community-based initiatives that complemented the government’s efforts to fight the pandemic. Speaking about the recovery of the economy and the society as we step into the post-Covid era, Narendran says, “While things have improved a lot due to large-scale vaccinations, we all also need to remain alert and not just assume that the virus has vanished.”

Narendran also emphasised the need to build a more robust infrastructure to rebuild the economy and society. “Regular infrastructure is a great multiplier of economic activity and medical infrastructure is required more from a long-term point of view.

I think we have underspent on medical infrastructure over the years and it would be good for us to bring our focus back to that,” he opines. Narendran shows deep empathy for the families that faced medical and money troubles during the pandemic. “Many families have lost their savings on huge medical expenses, many have lost their jobs, and as responsible corporate citizens, Tata Steel of ficials and management did whatever possible to reduce the human suffering,” he says.

“The pandemic tested the spirit of the company; its resilience, agility, compassion and everything else,” Narendran adds. For a company that has been a pillar of the Indian infrastructure sector and has literally provided pillars to build India, Tata Steel has stayed true to its old mantra ‘We also make Steel’ and also its new declaration—‘We also make tomorrow’.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

Lament Of Separation: Songs Of Habba Khatun, Last Queen Of Kashmir, Still Echo In Valley

In happy times and sad, Habba Khatun’s sensuous songs make both young and old emotional. With the never-ending conflict bringing tragedies to every doorstep, Habba’s lyrics of separation amplify their mourning.

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

How Indian Laws Govern People’s Right To Love And Live

In India, only those relationships between a man and a woman are considered to be legitimate when there is a marriage between the two.

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Kohli Quits Test Captaincy, Leaves Leadership Vacuum

Virat Kohli, 33, had recently stepped down as India's T20I captain and was subsequently removed as the ODI captain.

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

UP Elections 2022: How Congress Is Harnessing Power Of 'Persecuted' Women To Counter BJP

A Mahila Congress leader, who is the face of the ‘Ladki Hoon, Lad Sakti Hoon’ campaign, however, has accused the party of anti-women bias after she was denied a ticket.

Advertisement