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Barring One, TATA Group Has Steered Clear Of Scams And Scandals Despite Being In Business

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By Aiswarya Anil:

We have all heard of Tata Motors and Tata Tea because Tata is undeniably part of our everyday shopping vocabulary in India. Everyone has used a Tata product at least once in their lives, be it a Nano car or a Tata Sky subscription.

However, Tata might also just be the only brand in India that can be trusted, because it has hardly been in any scandal that other companies always find themselves in.

A Brief History Of Tata

The Tata group of companies is one of the biggest business conglomerates in the world. It was founded in 1868 by Jamsetji Tata as a small trading company.

He is regarded as the “Father of Indian Industry” because of the great influence he had in the Indian industrial sector, especially after independence.

Tata Iron and Steel Works Company was the first established business, after which the company’s expansion was a step-up game for the modern Indian industry.

A photograph of Jamsetji Tata and his family

Tata has since been under the leadership of five chairmans, namely Jamsetji’s son Dorabji Tata, followed by Nowroji Saklatwala, JRD Tata, Ratan Tata, Cyrus Mistry and now, it is Natarajan Chandrasekaran.

In 2019, Tata was the only brand in India to become part of Brand Finance Global’s report of the top 100 most valued brands in the world.

According to Chandrasekaran, trust and leadership are brand attributes that are more important to the company than any of its stakeholders. The Tata family is only a small shareholder of the company, and 66% of the company is controlled by philanthropic trusts.

Well, can one conclude that Tata might just be the one national corporation that has only had good intentions in the business world?

Tata’s Past Controversies

However, being like any other corporate company, Tata has also been in a few controversies, very few. In one such protest against the construction of a boundary wall by Tata Steel in Kalinganagar (Orissa), 13 tribal people were shot dead by the local police.

The Tata Tapes controversy was the only proper scandal that came to light in 1997, which surrounded a recorded conversation between Ratan Tata and other public figures, concerning the problems that Tata Tea was having with the Assam government.

The government accused the company of being tied with the United Liberation Front of Assam, a revolutionary rebel group.

Tata Consultancy Services is one of the companies under the Tata group

The controversy did not end with any conclusion, as Tata’s request for the Union government’s support faltered when the latter collapsed in the same year. Peace talks happened with the Assam government and the controversy died down.

What Still Makes Tata Trustable?

These listed controversies are enough to make anyone feel wary about a multinational company. However, compared to the ones that other companies have been in, Tata might just be the only company India can tolerate.

In India’s Enron Scandal that involved Satyam Computers, the chairman Ramalinga Raju confessed to having falsified accounts that amounted to a fraud of Rs. 14,000 crore.

Vijay Mallya, the former owner of Kingfisher, owes Rs. 9,000 crore to 17 banks in India, and has been charged with fraud and money laundering. Although he has offered to return the money, the government and banks want him duly punished.

Cyrus Mistry (left) and Ratan Tata (right)

In 2019, Naveen Jindal was also criminally charged for making incorrect claims regarding the allocation of land, equipment and a coal block. This was an extension of the Coalgate scam, which was brought into light in 2012.

Tata has never been involved in scandals that have directly affected the economy of India. Ratan Tata was accused by Cyrus Mistry for laundering around Rs. 22 crores under the airline business.

However, these allegations could be possible in view of the fallout that Mistry and Tata had, when Mistry resigned from the board claiming that Tata did not let him make decisions.

Considering the charity and ethical work that Tata involves themselves in, can we say that it might just be the most honest brand in India? Optimistically, we believe it has managed to keep the trust without causing any major problems.

Ms. Varalakshmi, a former Tata employee, even said that Tata as a brand is bigger than the individuals it comprises of. Hence, as of now, we can place our trust in Tata.

And this is not sponsored content.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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