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Tata Steel Rural Development Society: Creating sustainable means of living
CB Bureau, Mumbai June 11, 2012

Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS) was established in 1979 to engage in various social development programmes in the rural areas within which Tata Steel operated its business, specifically the mines and collieries spread over Jharkhand (until 2000, a part of the state of Bihar) and Orissa. Both states are located in eastern India.


Prior to the setting up of TSRDS, Tata Steel’s community initiatives were conducted through its rural and community services division. Subsequently, the company streamlined its community initiatives along three units: Community Development and Social Welfare, TSRDS, and Adivasi and Harijan Welfare Cell, now known as the Tribal Cultural Society.


TSRDS covered 32 villages around Jamshedpur (in the state of Jharkhand) in its first year of operation. As per information given on the official website of Purbi Singhbhum District, Jharkhand, TSRDS began operation in 1979 with an initial annual budget of Rs 8.5 lakh. Today, the annual budget has crossed the Rs 4 crore mark, and the programme reaches out to nearly 650 villages.


TSRDS has its headquarters at Jamshedpur and the units are situated at Jamadoba (Dhanbad District, Jharkhand), West Bokaro (Hazaribagh District, Jharkhand), Noamundi (Singhbhum [West] District, Jharkhand), Joda (Keonjhar District, Orissa), Bamnipal (Keonjhar) and Gopalpur (Ganjam District, Orissa).


Among the stated objectives of TSRDS are: to create a self-sustaining process of integrated rural development and to network with agencies (government and non-government) for bringing best available resources and practices to the rural community it works with. The Society is actively involved in the spheres of livelihood generation, health and hygiene, and people empowerment. In addition, it has identified the advancement of education, sports and self-reliance as tools to ensure a better quality of life for the people it works with.


TSRDS is also undertaking several projects to improve agricultural productivity and thereby raise the living standards of poor farmers and their families. As a result of these initiatives, some direct benefits have been seen, including improved crop yields, increase in household income, and year-round food security. It is also claimed that almost all the children in these households now go to school.


Of late, TSRDS has been focusing its efforts on imparting training on skills upgradation for the youth in the periphery of its operational areas. Initiatives of the steel major have helped hundreds of them to access sustainable sources of income.


TSRDS has, in collaboration with the Chennai-based Pan IIT Alumni Reach for India, trained 30 local youths in welding. Subsequently, the boys found engagement in BHEL Small and Medium Industries Association (BHEL SIA) in Tamil Nadu.


TSRDS is also partnering with the Bhubaneswar-based Central Institute of Plastic Engineering and Technology (CIPET) to impart skills upgradation. Under a pilot project, seven boys from villages around Sukinda Chromite Mine (SCM) were trained as plastic processing machine operators by CIPET. After completion of training, Kheria Autocomp Limited, an ISO Certified company based at Ahmedabad, absorbed all of them. They are being paid a salary of Rs 9,995 per month, besides other benefits.


Partnering with L&T, TSRDS facilitated training of college dropouts and ITI-passed jobless candidates. They are being trained at Kolkata in carpentry, bar bending, masonry and electrical trades, among others. After completion of training, the candidates will be absorbed by listed contractors of L&T.


Established in 1907, Tata Steel is among the top ten global steel companies with an annual crude steel capacity of over 28 million tonnes per annum (mtpa). It is now one of the world’s most geographically-diversified steel producers, with operations in 26 countries and a commercial presence in over 50 countries. The Tata Steel Group, with a turnover of US$ 22.8 billion in FY 2010, has over 80,000 employees.


In India, the group’s main facilities are located around the city of Jamshedpur, with current crude steel production capacity of 6.8 million tonnes a year and a variety of finishing plants. The Indian operations also include iron ore and coking coal mines.





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