Monday, September 20, 2021

Growth has increased inequalities within nations: T V Narendran

Jamshedpur: Mr. T V Narendran, CEO & Managing Director, Tata Steel Limited, today advised the corporate India to strive to achieve inclusive growth for all stakeholders. He said that while growth during the last few decades has reduced the inequalities between nations, the inequalities within countries have increased.

He said, even as the world aims to achieve growth, there is a need to ensure sustainability and social justice.

He was delivering Shiksha Aarambh Vyakhyan 2021 of IRMA. The Shiksha Aarambh Vyakhyan is the commencement address for the incoming batch of the PGDM(RM).

Speaking about the growth achieved post World War II, he said: “If you look at what has been happening in the last few decades post world war II in the world, and may be in the last 30 years in India, a lot of economic growth has happened. And in the process, in some sense, the inequalities between countries have decreased, while at the same time, the inequalities within countries have increased.”

He said: “There is a large part of population, in different countries, not only in India but developed and developing countries too, that feels left out. And the benefits of globalisation have been accruing to a few rather than to a larger cross section of the society. So there is a need for us as individuals, as corporates, as institutions to have a better understanding of what is happening.”

Talking about IRMA, he said: “As I read about sustainable development and social justice in your mission, we need more and more of that. As we develop we need to make sure that we do not put more pressure on the environment than we have done so far, because we have had carbon inefficient growth. As India is still at an early stage of development, getting that answer right is very important. Similarly, we should also see how we can have more inclusive growth. Because, for now we find a disconnect between urban and rural India.”

Speaking about the vision of IRMA founder Dr. Verghese Kurien, he said: “Dr. Kurien started in some sense in Tata Steel in the Technical Training Institute. He came there, he was there from 1944 to 1946 and then he left to pursue a career which was even more scintillating in many ways and he went to the US.”

He added: “When I hear about and read about what Dr. Kurien did and even today as we spoke about his dream about better India, it also takes me back to the foundations on which Tata Group was built. And If you look at J N Tata, the founder, his vision was an ‘Atmnirbhar India, better India’. At that point in time, he felt that it was very important for India to have a steel industry, a power plant and of course an educational institution which is today known as Indian Institute of Science.”

Speaking about inclusive development, he said: “This is also important to have this concept of inclusive development or keeping the community at the heart of all that you do, which is one of the reasons why IRMA was created. J N Tata, 30 years back, said that community is not just another stakeholder, but the very purpose of our existence. And I think this is a very powerful statement which drives the ethos of Tata Group. I am not claiming that Tata Group is perfect in any way, but I think the intent is there.”

Reflecting on the journey of Tata Group, he added: “Even if I look at the origins of Tata Steel, because I am deeply familiar with what happened from the various books that I read on that period, you know J N Tata went around looking for technologists and people to come and build a steel plant in India, because obviously in India, we did not have that experience or capability at that point in time, because steel was a relatively new industry. But as he went around what he also saw was that the industrial towns in England were not so great. There were a lot of population, very poor hygiene, it was effectively a large slum around a factory and he was very, very keen that when we build a steel plant or industry in India, we should make sure that the township around the industry is well planned. And he got the best of the people at that time. He got them to India. Obviously, by the time he passed away and his son Dorabji Tata ran most of it, but largely the thought process was that it was not only building a steel plant but taking care of the community as well.”

Mr. T V Narendran addressing students of IRMA
Mr. T V Narendran addressing students of IRMA

Mentioning Jamshedpur, he said: “And if any of you have been to Jamshedpur you will understand where that came from. Because even today I think Jamshedpur is one of the best townships to live in in India. So, we take that responsibility to community very seriously, because that is a part of the ethos. And that is a responsibility we take far beyond what is obligated on us by law or the amount of money that we have to spend on CSR. We have already spent more than we were required to or supposed to because we felt that was the right thing to do.”

He advised the IRMA graduates to connect with the community and said: “As you step into a career, you should keep in mind that the community is certainly a very, very important part of it. Today, as the world is debating different systems, till recently, it was felt that communism is dead and gone and capitalism is the only way forward. But the events of the last 10-15 years have brought a lot of skepticism into whether capitalism is the only way forward. Is there something that can give us a better balance? Because ultimately there are multiple stakeholders invested in an enterprise and we have to find a better balance to fulfil the needs of those stakeholders.”

Stressing the need to seek a balance, he said: “I think the corporate India needs to find the balance. Graduates and schools such as IRMA will help us connect with the community and society in a better way than we do in traditional MBA schools and traditional corporates.”

The entire session can be viewed here.

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