In India, TATA is not just a company, it’s an emotion, which we all connect with. The emotion that takes us on the journey, which is filled with pride and trust.
For many of us, as a kid, TATA is the first company we all start to know, even before the companies that our parents work for.
Yes, TATA has such a deep-rooted connection with Indians.
Looking Back at the History
Jamsetji Tata, the founder of the TATA group of companies was a true visionary philanthropreneur. His priority was not just profiting, but creating an environment where people around him would prosper and grow. And, the same values and ethos can be found imbibed in the culture of TATA even today and is growing stronger every day.
To give you a perspective, how much he cared for the well-being of his workers at the workplace can be known from the fact that he was the first person to attempt labour reforms in India. It was at that time when slavery and exploitation was a common scene in India.
For workers, Jamsetji Tata introduced shorter working hours, a well-ventilated workplace, and a creche for young mothers at the workplace. And, other revolutionary steps like the introduction of the PF and gratuity system, workplace accident compensation, institutionalising pension fund, etc. It was all happening in the late 19th century when western countries were yet to formalise such measures.
In a way, Jamsetji Tata through his people-first approach was setting the foundational stone of modern India.
How TATA Contributed to India’s Prosperity?
Over the decades, TATA has grown itself as a diversified conglomerate with global footprints, commonly referred to as a salt-to-software conglomerate. It operates in over 100 countries through its 30 companies and numerous subsidiaries spread across 10 verticals. Tata’s did many firsts for the country. From building the first steel plant in Jamshedpur to building supercomputers, Tata has put India on the global map. How Tata is contributing to India’s growth, let’s have a look.
Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO)- Tata built India’s and Asia’s first steel and iron company in 1907. Also, it was the first Indian company to issue public shares. It has a current annual steel production capacity of 33 million tonnes per annum with an employee base of over 65,000.
TATA Motors, formerly known as TELCO was founded in 1945 and India’s first commercial vehicle manufacturer. Now it manufactures a range of advanced passenger, commercial, and military vehicles and has an employee base of close to 80,000 spread globally. The company’s most iconic moment was when it acquired the English premium car maker Jaguar Land Rover from Ford.
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is the crown jewel of TATA’s. Founded in April 1968, the company is known for its world-class workplace and culture. It is the world’s leading consulting and business solution organisation with revenue of $22 billion in 2021 and has an employee base of over 5 lakh across 46 countries.
Tata Consumers, formerly known as Tata Tea and Tata Global Beverages is the world’s second-largest manufacturer and producer of tea and coffee and is home to some of the iconic brands like Tata Salt, Tetley, Tata Tea, Tata Starbucks, etc.
Tata Chemicals is one of the largest chemical companies in the world. It is the third-largest soda ash producer globally and has Asia’s largest saltworks. Its base is spread across 4 continents and has over 4,600 employees in its roll. It is also spearheading India’s EV battery manufacturing capability.
TATA Group through its group of companies is contributing enormously to India’s growth story and creating wealth for its shareholders. In the year 2017, TATA Group contributed 2.24% of India’s total tax collection. Through its visionary thinking, strong business acumen and people-centric approach, TATA has taken India to the global stage, building and strengthening the brand India.
TATA’s Philanthropic Activity
About TATA’s philanthropic activities, the less we talk about, the better it is. Tata strongly believes in giving back to society and every philanthropic activity is targeted and aimed towards nurturing the socially deprived.
TATA mainly focuses its philanthropic activities on healthcare, nutrition, sanitation and educational initiatives. From making primary healthcare services accessible to the treatment of cancer in an affordable way, TATA is helping to strengthen the healthcare system of India.
In education front, by setting up institutions like the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), TATA Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), TATA Institute of Social Science (TISS), National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), or its association with XLRI, Jamshedpur, TATA has helped to raise the bar of higher education in India.
Do you know: 66% of Tata Sons’ equity is held by Tata Trusts. It is one of the oldest philanthropic organisations in India and the dividends received from Tata Sons flows directly to support philanthropic activities.
TATA’s Tryst with Supercomputer
Not many of us know, TATA has also played an instrumental role in developing India’s fastest supercomputer back in 2007. The supercomputer was named EKA (in Sanskrit, it means one) and it was the fourth fastest supercomputer in the world and the first fastest supercomputer in Asia.
Developed by Computational Research Laboratory, a fully-owned subsidiary of Tata Sons created just to develop the supercomputer. Here, read the article from Harish Bhat, Brand Custodian, Tata Sons, author of TATA LOG, how EKA was conceptualised, developed, and with the help of Charminar cigarettes and Kingfisher beer, EKA broke into the list of top 10 supercomputers at that time.
The supercomputer was built in a record time of 6-weeks at Rs 118 crore.
For India, it was no small feat, the country, which was not known for such technological prowess and where only western countries dominated the space.
TATA’s Decision to Buy AIR INDIA
It is not the first time, TATA has decided to buy out a stressed company. When Ford decided to sell Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) to TATA, it was then a cash bleeding brand and was losing out of favour among buyers. It was also the time after the global financial crisis when corporates were struggling to stay afloat.
TATA’s decision to buy JLR proved to be one of the best decisions as they not only helped the brands to regain the lost glory but also enjoyed good fortunes.
Now, coming to AIR INDIA, it’s not just any airline company for TATA. The airline was once owned by them, but its control was forcibly taken back by the government in the name of the nationalisation of assets. For the government, AIR INDIA was a golden goose in the early years, but terrible decisions, huge political influence, managerial incompetence, failed merger with Indian Airlines led it to become a cash guzzler.
For the Tata group, acquiring a full-service carrier is a very big decision, since they already own and operate two airline companies in India (Vistara and AirAsia India). And, both airlines are yet to become profitable. Adding another airline business, which has a history of troubled financials can put an excessive financial strain on the operating efficiency of Tata Group.
But, keeping aside the financial maths, for Air India, it means coming back home where its founders can nurture it back to the top of financial health. Because, for Air India, it requires more than correcting the operational structure, which only Tata has expertise on and has well proved in the past. It would be interesting to see, how things pan out.
The humility, strong business ethics, and discipline of the founders, which they were able to pass on to generations and the people associated with the group have made what Tata Group is today. Before closing down this article, have you noticed the logo of Tata? What does it signify? Don’t know?
The logo signifies fluidity and adaptability. A fountain of knowledge or a tree of knowledge under which people can take shelter.